Objectives: We investigated the potential role of cingulum and uncinate fasciculus integrity in trauma-related neural hypervigilance, indexed by less discrimination between amygdala activation to novel and familiar affective images.
Participants: 22 women (mean age 21.7 ± 3.9 years) with a history of trauma, and 20 no-trauma controls (mean age 21.9 ± 4.8 years).
Measures: Trauma exposure and trauma-related symptoms were assessed during structured clinical interview. White matter integrity in the anterior cingulum, parahippocampal cingulum, and uncinate fasciculus was measured using diffusion weighted imaging. Amygdala response to novel and familiar affective scenes was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Trauma-exposed women showed less discrimination between novel and familiar negative images in the amygdala compared to no-trauma controls. In trauma-exposed women, less amygdala discrimination between novel and familiar affective images was associated with less structural integrity in the anterior cingulum, but was not associated with structural integrity of the parahippocampal cingulum or the uncinate fasciculus.
Conclusions: The anterior cingulum might play an important role in impaired novelty discrimination for affective information in the amygdala. This impairment is potentially driven by inefficient habituation and could contribute to persistent behavioral hypervigilance following trauma exposure.