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Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Thickness Is Related to Alexithymia in Childhood Trauma-Related PTSD.

Demers LA, Olson EA, Crowley DJ, Rauch SL, Rosso IM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: This association was strongest in the left hemisphere and for TAS-20 subscales that assess difficulty identifying and describing feelings.We found that increasing dACC gray matter thickness is a neural correlate of greater alexithymia in the context of PTSD with childhood maltreatment.While findings are correlational, they motivate further inquiry into the relationships between childhood adversity, emotional awareness and expression, and dACC morphologic development in trauma-related psychopathology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Alexithymia, or "no words for feelings", is highly prevalent in samples with childhood maltreatment and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been identified as a key region involved in alexithymia, early life trauma, and PTSD. Functional alterations in the dACC also have been associated with alexithymia in PTSD. This study examined whether dACC morphology is a neural correlate of alexithymia in child maltreatment-related PTSD. Sixteen adults with PTSD and a history of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or exposure to domestic violence, and 24 healthy controls (HC) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale 20 (TAS-20) and underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Cortical thickness of the dACC was measured using FreeSurfer, and values were correlated with TAS-20 scores, controlling for sex and age, in both groups. Average TAS-20 score was significantly higher in the PTSD than the HC group. TAS-20 scores were significantly positively associated with dACC thickness only in the PTSD group. This association was strongest in the left hemisphere and for TAS-20 subscales that assess difficulty identifying and describing feelings. We found that increasing dACC gray matter thickness is a neural correlate of greater alexithymia in the context of PTSD with childhood maltreatment. While findings are correlational, they motivate further inquiry into the relationships between childhood adversity, emotional awareness and expression, and dACC morphologic development in trauma-related psychopathology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) region of interest, obtained from the Desikan-Killiani FreeSurfer atlas.
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pone.0139807.g001: Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) region of interest, obtained from the Desikan-Killiani FreeSurfer atlas.

Mentions: Each MRI dataset underwent cortical surface reconstruction via the FreeSurfer automated cortical measurement technique [46]. Average cortical thickness measurements were taken at every point on smoothed and aligned images by averaging the distance between the pial surface and the gray-white interface. Distinct region of interest measures were calculated using the well-established FreeSurfer atlas developed by Desikan and colleagues (2006) [47]. For this study, we restricted our focus to the FreeSurfer region named “caudal anterior division of the cingulate cortex” [47] (Fig 1), herein referred to as the dACC. All participants’ FreeSurfer data were manually inspected and edited by the second author (EAO) who previously had attended an official training workshop given by the FreeSurfer developers at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Thickness Is Related to Alexithymia in Childhood Trauma-Related PTSD.

Demers LA, Olson EA, Crowley DJ, Rauch SL, Rosso IM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) region of interest, obtained from the Desikan-Killiani FreeSurfer atlas.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4595375&req=5

pone.0139807.g001: Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) region of interest, obtained from the Desikan-Killiani FreeSurfer atlas.
Mentions: Each MRI dataset underwent cortical surface reconstruction via the FreeSurfer automated cortical measurement technique [46]. Average cortical thickness measurements were taken at every point on smoothed and aligned images by averaging the distance between the pial surface and the gray-white interface. Distinct region of interest measures were calculated using the well-established FreeSurfer atlas developed by Desikan and colleagues (2006) [47]. For this study, we restricted our focus to the FreeSurfer region named “caudal anterior division of the cingulate cortex” [47] (Fig 1), herein referred to as the dACC. All participants’ FreeSurfer data were manually inspected and edited by the second author (EAO) who previously had attended an official training workshop given by the FreeSurfer developers at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Bottom Line: This association was strongest in the left hemisphere and for TAS-20 subscales that assess difficulty identifying and describing feelings.We found that increasing dACC gray matter thickness is a neural correlate of greater alexithymia in the context of PTSD with childhood maltreatment.While findings are correlational, they motivate further inquiry into the relationships between childhood adversity, emotional awareness and expression, and dACC morphologic development in trauma-related psychopathology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Alexithymia, or "no words for feelings", is highly prevalent in samples with childhood maltreatment and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been identified as a key region involved in alexithymia, early life trauma, and PTSD. Functional alterations in the dACC also have been associated with alexithymia in PTSD. This study examined whether dACC morphology is a neural correlate of alexithymia in child maltreatment-related PTSD. Sixteen adults with PTSD and a history of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or exposure to domestic violence, and 24 healthy controls (HC) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale 20 (TAS-20) and underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Cortical thickness of the dACC was measured using FreeSurfer, and values were correlated with TAS-20 scores, controlling for sex and age, in both groups. Average TAS-20 score was significantly higher in the PTSD than the HC group. TAS-20 scores were significantly positively associated with dACC thickness only in the PTSD group. This association was strongest in the left hemisphere and for TAS-20 subscales that assess difficulty identifying and describing feelings. We found that increasing dACC gray matter thickness is a neural correlate of greater alexithymia in the context of PTSD with childhood maltreatment. While findings are correlational, they motivate further inquiry into the relationships between childhood adversity, emotional awareness and expression, and dACC morphologic development in trauma-related psychopathology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus