The Neural Correlates of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder in Women: A Structural MRI Study

Publication Date

April 2015


Charles Sanislow


Neuroscience and Behavior


English (United States)


The aim of this study was to assess volumes of brain structures in participants who have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (n=10), Borderline Personality Disorder (n=10) and participants comorbid for both conditions (n=13). In addition, personality measures such at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the Five Factor Model were used to study traits and diagnostics as they relate to our Regions of Interest (ROIs). These measures were also used to help derive hypotheses. Areas where we expected volumetric abnormalities were the Amygdala, Hypothalamus, Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC), Superior Temporal Gyrus, Fusiform Gyrus, Inferior Temporal Cortex, Cingulate Gyrus, Lingual Gyrus, Cerebellum and the Hippocampus. High Resolution Structural MRI and Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) were used to analyze the gray matter volume (GMV) in 45 women. Simple grouping results showed abnormalities in the left Amygdala, right Hippocampus, left Hypothalamus, bilateral Cingulate Gyrus (BA 23, 24, 30, 31, and 32), right Nucleus Accumbens and left Middle Temporal Gyrus. When comorbid alcohol was assessed independently, volume differences were found in the right Primary Motor Area, right Medial Parietal Lobe, and various Frontal Areas (left BA 6, bilateral BA 8 and 9, left BA 25.) The independent assessment of comorbid trauma revealed abnormalities in the Basal Ganglia (right Caudate, and bilateral Nucleus Accumbens), Cingulate Gyrus (right BA 23, bilateral BA 24, right BA 30, right BA 31, left BA 32), Superior Temporal Gyrus/Area (left BA 22 and 34) and right Peristriate of the Occipital Lobe (BA 19.) Independently assessing comorbid depression as comorbidity revealed abnormalities in bilateral Inferior Temporal Cortex (BA 20), left Posterior Cingulate Gyrus (BA 23), left Cingulate Gyrus Isthmus (BA 30), right Dorsal Posterior Cingulate Gyrus (BA 31), left Anterior Cingulate Gyrus (BA 32), bilateral Amygdala, bilateral Hippocampal, right Insula, and left Fusiform. PAI Analysis revealed correlations between the areas listed above and measures of anxiety, anxiety related disorders, the antisocial scale, aggression, depression, the alcohol and drug scale, and stress.

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