Superior colliculus resting state networks in post-traumatic stress disorder and its dissociative subtype
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OBJECTIVES: The innate alarm system (IAS) models the neurocircuitry involved in threat processing in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, we investigate a primary subcortical structure of the IAS model, the superior colliculus (SC), where the SC is thought to contribute to the mechanisms underlying threat-detection in PTSD. Critically, the functional connectivity between the SC and other nodes of the IAS remains unexplored. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We conducted a resting-state fMRI study to investigate the functional architecture of the IAS, focusing on connectivity of the SC in PTSD (n = 67), its dissociative subtype (n = 41), and healthy controls (n = 50) using region-of-interest seed-based analysis. PRINCIPAL OBSERVATIONS: We observed group-specific resting state functional connectivity between the SC for both PTSD and its dissociative subtype, indicative of dedicated IAS collicular pathways in each group of patients. When comparing PTSD to its dissociative subtype, we observed increased resting state functional connectivity between the left SC and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in PTSD. The DLPFC is involved in modulation of emotional processes associated with active defensive responses characterising PTSD. Moreover, when comparing PTSD to its dissociative subtype, increased resting state functional connectivity was observed between the right SC and the right temporoparietal junction in the dissociative subtype. The temporoparietal junction is involved in depersonalization responses associated with passive defensive responses typical of the dissociative subtype. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that unique resting state functional connectivity of the SC parallels the unique symptom profile and defensive responses observed in PTSD and its dissociative subtype. Hum Brain Mapp 39:563-574, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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