Altered resting-state functional connectivity in adolescents is associated with PTSD symptoms and trauma exposure

Jony Sheynin, Elizabeth R. Duval, Yana Lokshina, J. Cobb Scott, Mike Angstadt, Daniel Kessler, Li Zhang, Raquel E. Gur, Ruben C. Gur, Israel Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Alterations in resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) have been demonstrated in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, such reports have primarily focused on adult participants, whereas findings in adolescents with PTSD are mixed and not entirely consistent with the adult literature. Here, we examined rsFC in a non-treatment seeking adolescent sample with posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS; n = 59) relative to asymptomatic controls (n = 226). We also examined differences between trauma-exposed and non-exposed control subgroups (TEC n = 73 and Non-TEC n = 153) to examine alterations associated with more general trauma exposure. Finally, we compared the PTSS and TEC groups, to confirm that the reported alterations in PTSS were not driven by trauma exposure. Using a seed-based approach, we examined connectivity of default-mode (DMN) and salience (SN) networks, where alterations have been previously reported. Results suggest that PTSS are associated with less within-DMN connectivity and greater SN-DMN connectivity, as well as altered connectivity with attention regions. Trauma exposure is associated with greater within-SN connectivity. Additionally, we report findings from exploratory connectome-based analysis, which demonstrate a number of topological alterations within DMN in the PTSS group. Overall, our findings replicate prior reports of altered rsFC in PTSD and extend them to non-treatment seeking, trauma-exposed adolescents, who did or did not report PTSS. They specifically highlight SN-DMN desegregation, lower within-DMN and greater within-SN connectivity, as well as altered connectivity with attention regions, in trauma-exposed adolescents. Future research is required to confirm that adolescents with diagnosed PTSD have similar/exacerbated connectivity patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102215
Pages (from-to)102215
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2020


  • Adolescents
  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Resting-state
  • Trauma
  • Psychological Trauma/physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Connectome
  • Brain/physiopathology
  • Nerve Net/physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/physiopathology
  • Adolescent
  • Female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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