Hippocampal Threat Reactivity Interacts with Physiological Arousal to Predict PTSD Symptoms

Büşra Tanriverdi, David F. Gregory, Thomas M. Olino, Timothy D. Ely, Nathaniel G. Harnett, Sanne J.H. van Rooij, Lauren A.M. Lebois, Antonia V. Seligowski, Tanja Jovanovic, Kerry J. Ressler, Stacey L. House, Francesca L. Beaudoin, Xinming An, Thomas C. Neylan, Gari D. Clifford, Sarah D. Linnstaedt, Laura T. Germine, Kenneth A. Bollen, Scott L. Rauch, John P. HaranAlan B. Storrow, Christopher Lewandowski, Paul I. Musey, Phyllis L. Hendry, Sophia Sheikh, Christopher W. Jones, Brittany E. Punches, Michael C. Kurz, Meghan E. McGrath, Lauren A. Hudak, Jose L. Pascual, Mark J. Seamon, Elizabeth M. Datner, Claire Pearson, Robert M. Domeier, Niels K. Rathlev, Brian J. O'Neil, Leon D. Sanchez, Steven E. Bruce, Mark W. Miller, Robert H. Pietrzak, Jutta Joormann, Deanna M. Barch, Diego A. Pizzagalli, John F. Sheridan, Jordan W. Smoller, Steven E. Harte, James M. Elliott, Samuel A. McLean, Ronald C. Kessler, Karestan C. Koenen, Jennifer S. Stevens, Vishnu P. Murty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hippo campal impairments are reliably associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, little research has characterized how increased threat sensitivity may interact with arousal responses to alter hippocampal reactivity, and further how these interactions relate to the sequelae of trauma-related symptoms. In a sample of individuals recently exposed to trauma (N = 116, 76 female), we found that PTSD symptoms at 2 weeks were associated with decreased hippocampal responses to threat as assessed with fMRI. Further, the relationship between hippocampal threat sensitivity and PTSD symptomology only emerged in individuals who showed transient, high threat-related arousal, as assayed by an independently collected measure of fear potentiated startle. Collectively, our finding suggests that development of PTSD is associated with threat-related decreases in hippocampal function because of increases in fear-potentiated arousal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6593-6604
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022


  • arousal
  • fMRI
  • fear
  • hippocampus
  • trauma


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