Different neural modifications underpin PTSD after different traumatic events: an fMRI meta-analytic study

Maddalena Boccia, Simonetta D’Amico, Filippo Bianchini, Assunta Marano, Anna Maria Giannini, Laura Piccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety condition that can develop after exposure to trauma such as physical or sexual assault, injury, combat-related trauma, natural disaster or death. Although an increasing number of neurobiological studies carried out over the past 20 years have allowed clarifying the neural substrate of PTSD, the neural modifications underpinning PTSD are still unclear. Here we used activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis (ALE) to determine whether PTSD has a consistent neural substrate. We also explored the possibility that different traumatic events produce different alterations in the PTSD neural network. In neuroimaging studies of PTSD, we found evidence of a consistent neural network including the bilateral insula and cingulate cortex as well as the parietal, frontal and limbic areas. We also found that specific networks of brain areas underpin PTSD after different traumatic events and that these networks may be related to specific aspects of the traumatic events. We discuss our results in light of the functional segregation of the brain areas involved in PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-237
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 26 2015


  • ALE meta-analysis
  • fMRI
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Neurology

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