Neuroimaging studies of emotional responses in PTSD

Israel Liberzon, Brian Martis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Neuroimaging research offers a powerful and noninvasive means to understand healthy as well as dysregulated emotional processing in healthy subjects and PTSD patients. Functional neuroimaging findings suggest specific roles for subregions of the medial prefrontal (mPFC), orbito frontal (OFC), anterior cingulate (ACC), and insular cortices as well as the sublenticular extended amygdala (SLEA) and hippocampus in various components of emotional processing. Some of the same regions appear to be associated with emotional response to trauma, and with symptom formation in PTSD. Neuroimaging findings of emotional processing in healthy subjects and PTSD patients are discussed, addressing the specific roles of cortical regions like mPFC, ACC, and insula, and their potential contribution to PTSD pathophysiology. Processes of cognitive-emotional interactions and social emotions are discussed in an attempt to synthesize the prefrontal findings in healthy subjects and PTSD patients. Further links between functional neuroanatomy of emotional responses and neuroendocrine stress regulation are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-109
Number of pages23
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Amygdala
  • Anterior cingulated cortex
  • Emotion regulation
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Hippocampus
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Neural circuitry
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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