Volume 1071, Issue 1 p. 67-79

Amygdala, Medial Prefrontal Cortex, and Hippocampal Function in PTSD

LISA M. SHIN

LISA M. SHIN

Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital–Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

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SCOTT L. RAUCH

SCOTT L. RAUCH

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital–Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

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ROGER K. PITMAN

ROGER K. PITMAN

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital–Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

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First published: 26 July 2006
Citations: 836
Address for correspondence: Lisa M. Shin, Ph. D., Department of Psychology, Tufts University, 490 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155. Voice: 617-627-2251; fax: 978-682-7621.
 e-mail: [email protected]

Abstract

Abstract: The last decade of neuroimaging research has yielded important information concerning the structure, neurochemistry, and function of the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Neuroimaging research reviewed in this article reveals heightened amygdala responsivity in PTSD during symptomatic states and during the processing of trauma-unrelated affective information. Importantly, amygdala responsivity is positively associated with symptom severity in PTSD. In contrast, medial prefrontal cortex appears to be volumetrically smaller and is hyporesponsive during symptomatic states and the performance of emotional cognitive tasks in PTSD. Medial prefrontal cortex responsivity is inversely associated with PTSD symptom severity. Lastly, the reviewed research suggests diminished volumes, neuronal integrity, and functional integrity of the hippocampus in PTSD. Remaining research questions and related future directions are presented.