The cerebellum after trauma: Resting-state functional connectivity of the cerebellum in posttraumatic stress disorder and its dissociative subtype
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The cerebellum plays a key role not only in motor function but also in affect and cognition. Although several psychopathological disorders have been associated with overall cerebellar dysfunction, it remains unclear whether different regions of the cerebellum contribute uniquely to psychopathology. Accordingly, we compared seed-based resting-state functional connectivity of the anterior cerebellum (lobule IV-V), of the posterior cerebellum (Crus I), and of the anterior vermis across posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; n = 65), its dissociative subtype (PTSD + DS; n = 37), and non-trauma-exposed healthy controls (HC; n = 47). Here, we observed decreased functional connectivity of the anterior cerebellum and anterior vermis with brain regions involved in somatosensory processing, multisensory integration, and bodily self-consciousness (temporo-parietal junction, postcentral gyrus, and superior parietal lobule) in PTSD + DS as compared to PTSD and HC. Moreover, the PTSD + DS group showed increased functional connectivity of the posterior cerebellum with cortical areas related to emotion regulation (ventromedial prefrontal and orbito-frontal cortex, subgenual anterior cingulum) as compared to PTSD. By contrast, PTSD showed increased functional connectivity of the anterior cerebellum with cortical areas associated with visual processing (fusiform gyrus), interoceptive awareness (posterior insula), memory retrieval, and contextual processing (hippocampus) as compared to HC. Finally, we observed decreased functional connectivity between the posterior cerebellum and prefrontal regions involved in emotion regulation, in PTSD as compared to HC. These findings not only highlight the crucial role of each cerebellar region examined in the psychopathology of PTSD but also reveal unique alterations in functional connectivity distinguishing the dissociative subtype of PTSD versus PTSD.
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