Get access

Neuroanatomical Changes Associated with Pharmacotherapy in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Authors

  • J DOUGLAS BREMNER,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Radiology, Emory Center for Positron Emission Tomography, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA Atlanta VAMC, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4004, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ERIC VERMETTEN

    1. Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Radiology, Emory Center for Positron Emission Tomography, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA Atlanta VAMC, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4004, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Address for correspondence: J. Douglas Bremner, MD, PET Center/Nuclear Med., Emory University Hospital, 1364 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322. Voice: 404-712-0108. jdbremn@emory.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Brain imaging studies have mapped out the neural circuitry of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), implicating brain areas sensitive to stress such as the hippocampus. Animal studies show that antidepressants promote hippocampal neurogenesis and block the effects of stress on the hippocampus. We found that treatment of PTSD patients for a year with the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine resulted in a 5% increase in hippocampal volume and a 35% improvement in verbal declarative memory function. Patients subjectively reported an improvement in cognition and work performance. These studies are consistent with the idea that antidepressants have a beneficial effect on hippocampal function in PTSD patients.

Ancillary