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Table 5 Diffusion tensor imaging studies conducted in individuals exposed to high levels of early-life stress reporting fractional anisotropy alterationsa

From: Meta-analysis of diffusion tensor imaging studies shows altered fractional anisotropy occurring in distinct brain areas in association with depression

Study Method Participants Results Comments
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] TBSS
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
  1. aELS, early-life stress; ROI, region of interest; FA, fractional anisotropy; TBSS, tract-based spatial statistics; PVA, parental verbal abuse; PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder.