Default-Mode Network Abnormalities in Pediatric Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Rémi Patriat, Rasmus M. Birn, Taylor J. Keding, Ryan J. Herringa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) studies of adult posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have identified default-mode network (DMN) abnormalities, including reduced within-network connectivity and reduced anticorrelation between the DMN and task-positive network (TPN). However, no prior studies have specifically examined DMN connectivity in pediatric PTSD, which may differ due to neurodevelopmental factors. Method A total of 29 youth with PTSD and 30 nontraumatized healthy youth of comparable age and sex completed rs-fMRI. DMN properties were examined using posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) seed-based connectivity and independent component analysis (ICA). Results Contrary to findings in adult studies, youth with PTSD displayed increased connectivity within the DMN, including increased PCC-inferior parietal gyrus connectivity, and age-related increases in PCC-ventromedial prefrontal cortex connectivity. Strikingly, youth with PTSD also displayed greater anticorrelation between the PCC and multiple nodes within salience and attentional control networks of the TPN. ICA revealed greater anticorrelation between the entire DMN and TPN networks in youth with PTSD. Furthermore, DMN and TPN connectivity strength were positively and negatively associated, respectively, with re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Conclusion Pediatric PTSD is characterized by heightened within-DMN connectivity, which may contribute to re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD and is consistent with the role of the DMN in autobiographical memory. At the same time, greater anticorrelation between the DMN and attentional control networks may represent compensatory mechanisms aimed at suppressing trauma-related thought, a notion supported by the inverse relationship between TPN strength and re-experiencing. These findings provide new insights into large-scale network abnormalities underlying pediatric PTSD, which could serve as biomarkers of illness and treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health Career Development Award (K08 MH100267, R.J.H.), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Junior Investigator Award (R.J.H.), a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant (R.J.H.), the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research Translational Pilot Grant Award (NIH/NCATS UL1TR000427, R.J.H.), and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Funding sources did not play any direct role in study design, data analysis, data interpretation, or preparation of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Disclosure: Dr. Patriat has served as a consultant for Surgical Information Sciences (SIS) on MRI data acquisition and management specific to Deep Brain Stimulation applications. This affiliation began after completion of the study and after first submission of this manuscript. SIS played no role whatsoever in study design, data analysis, data interpretation, or preparation of the manuscript. SIS played no role in the fields of PTSD and does not benefit in any way, shape, or form from the results of this study. Dr. Birn has received grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Herringa and Mr. Keding report no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Keywords

  • DMN
  • connectivity
  • pediatric PTSD
  • rs-fMRI

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