[ARTICLE] Aberrant intrinsic connectivity in women victims of sexual assault

  • Recherche,
  • Santé-Sciences-Technologie,
Women and Sexual Assault
Women and Sexual Assault

le 14 avril 2021

Published in Brain Imaging Behav

Collaborative research project led by Prof. Wissam El-Hage


This study aims to determine if resting-state functional connectivity may represent a marker for the progression of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women victims of sexual assault. Participants were 25 adult women recruited three weeks following exposure to sexual assault (T1) and 19 age-matched healthy, non trauma-exposed controls (HC). Among the victims, 10 participants met (PTSD) and 15 did not meet (trauma-exposed controls, TEC) DSM-IV criteria for PTSD six months post-trauma (T2). At both visits, patterns of intrinsic connectivity, a measure of network centrality at each voxel of the brain, were derived from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Compared to both the HC and TEC groups, victims who developed PTSD at T2 showed higher centrality in the right middle/superior occipital gyrus at T1, while reduced centrality of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus at T1 was found for the TEC group, compared to the HC group only. There were no differences in intrinsic connectivity at T1 between the TEC and PTSD groups. There were no significant between-group differences in intrinsic connectivity at T2, and no significant group-by-time interaction. This study indicates that increased occipital centrality three weeks post-trauma exposure may represent a marker of the later development of PTSD. On the other hand, reduced centrality of the PCC/precuneus may represent a marker of resilience to trauma exposure.


Acute trauma; Centrality; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Rape; Resting-state.

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