Decreases in White Matter Integrity of Ventro-Limbic Pathway Linked to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly observed in military service members with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI); however, the relationship between mTBI and PTSD is complex and not well understood. The present study aims to elucidate a link between the degree of alteration in limbic system-related white matter tracts and PTSD symptoms in an mTBI population. Diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) with probabilistic tractography of the fronto-limbic pathways revealed decreased white matter integrity in the uncinate fasciculus in those with co-morbid mTBI and PTSD (n = 34), relative to those with only mTBI (n = 35). Additionally, fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD) measures in the bilateral uncinate fasciculus correlated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Civilian version (PCL-C) scores, and primarily within the avoidance and re-experiencing domains. Findings from this study suggest the degree of traumatic injury within the limbic system could be directly related to post-traumatic stress and post-concussive symptoms, with disrupted white matter leading to significant PTSD outcomes.