Table 5

Diffusion tensor imaging studies conducted in individuals exposed to high levels of early-life stress reporting fractional anisotropy alterationsa






Paul et al. [19]

ROI analysis

1.5 Tesla

12 non-colinear directions

116 healthy subjects older than 18 years of age

Reduced FA

within genu of corpus callosum in female subjects only who were exposed to significant ELS

ELS causes microstructural changes in brain that also occur in absence of clinically significant psychiatric symptoms

Eluvathingal et al. [42]

ROI and tractography

1.5 Tesla

6 non-colinear directions

Seven right-handed

children with history of early, severe socioemotional deprivation, seven matched controls

Significantly reduced FA values in left uncinate fasciculus in individuals exposed to ELS compared to controls

Structural changes in left uncinate fasciculus may contribute to cognitive and behavioural problems seen in ELS children

Choi et al. [40]


3 Tesla

12 encoding directions

16 unmedicated individuals with history of high-level exposure to PVA but no other form of maltreatment, 16 matched controls

Reduced FA in arcuate fasciculus in left superior temporal gyrus, cingulum bundle

by posterior tail of left hippocampus and left body of fornix

PVA exposure may cause alterations in integrity of neural pathways with consequences for language development and psychopathology

Tomoda et al. [41]

Voxel-based whole-brain analysis

3 Tesla

21 unmedicated, right-handed subjects ages 18 to 25 years with histories of PVA, 19 controls

An increase in grey matter volume by 14.1% in the left superior temporal gyrus

PVA exposure may affect development of auditory

association cortex involved in language processing

Jackowski et al. [43]

ROI analysis

1.5 Tesla

6 non-colinear directions

17 maltreated children with PTSD, 15 controls

Reduced FA in medial and posterior corpus callosum of maltreated children

Alterations in areas of brain important in processing of emotional stimuli and memory function is associated with ELS

aELS, early-life stress; ROI, region of interest; FA, fractional anisotropy; TBSS, tract-based spatial statistics; PVA, parental verbal abuse; PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder.

Murphy and Frodl Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders 2011 1:3   doi:10.1186/2045-5380-1-3

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