• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Review Article

Exp Neurobiol 2016; 25(6): 277-295

Published online December 31, 2016

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Molecular Neuroimaging in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Jooyeon Jamie Im1,2, Eun Namgung1,3, Yejee Choi1,3, Jung Yoon Kim1,3, Sandy Jeong Rhie1,4 and Sujung Yoon1,3*

1Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 2Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, 3Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 4College of Pharmacy and Division of Life and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-3277-2478, FAX: 82-2-3277-6562

Received: October 11, 2016; Revised: November 11, 2016; Accepted: November 14, 2016


Over the past decade, an increasing number of neuroimaging studies have provided insight into the neurobiological mechanisms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD). In particular, molecular neuroimaging techniques have been employed in examining metabolic and neurochemical processes in PTSD. This article reviews molecular neuroimaging studies in PTSD and focuses on findings using three imaging modalities including positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Although there were some inconsistences in the findings, patients with PTSD showed altered cerebral metabolism and perfusion, receptor bindings, and metabolite profiles in the limbic regions, medial prefrontal cortex, and temporal cortex. Studies that have investigated brain correlates of treatment response are also reviewed. Lastly, the limitations of the molecular neuroimaging studies and potential future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Molecular neuroimaging, Positron emission tomography (PET), Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)