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Clinical Article
White matter microstructural changes shortly after acute stress: A DTI study
ZHAO Na  MENG Linghui  ZHANG Yingdong  DU Guoshuai  LIU Hongran  GAO Minglong  REN Beibei 

ZHAO N, MENG L H, ZHANG Y D, et al. White matter microstructural changes shortly after acute stress: A DTI study[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2023, 14(9): 39-43. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2023.09.007.

[Abstract] Objective To investigate the changes of white matter microstructure shortly after acute stress using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and discuss the clinical significance of these changes.Materials and Methods Thirty motor vehicle accident (MVA) survivors and 26 gender, age and education degree matched healthy subjects were recruited. Along with MRI scan, clinical assessments were also evaluated in both groups. MVA survivors got trauma-specific clinical assessments including Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) score and received MRI scan within 1week from the MVA. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was carried out to investigate difference in white matter integrity between 2 groups. White matter integrity was measured using fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD) and radical diffusivity (RD). A correlation between HAMA score and regional FA value was examined using correlation analysis.Results Significantly lower FA (P<0.05) values with higher RD (P<0.05) values were found in areas including the left external capsule, posterior limb of internal capsule, superior longitudinal fasciculus and posterior thalamic radiations (including optic radiation) in MVA survivors as compared with those in control group (P<0.05). No AD changes were noted (P>0.05). HAMA score was negatively correlated with FA in the left posterior thalamic radiations (including optic radiation)( r=-0.40, P=0.03 ).Conclusions These results indicate changes in white matter microstructure integrity shortly after acute stress which may be related to anxiety symptom. Therefore, highlight the need for early evaluation and intervention for trauma survivors.
[Keywords] acute stress;magnetic resonance imaging;diffusion tensor imaging;white matter;tract-based spatial statistics

ZHAO Na1   MENG Linghui1*   ZHANG Yingdong2   DU Guoshuai1   LIU Hongran1   GAO Minglong2   REN Beibei1  

1 Department of CT/MRI, the Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050051, China

2 Mental Health Center, the First Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050030, China

Corresponding author: Meng LH, E-mail:

Conflicts of interest   None.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province (No. H2020206278); S&T Program of Hebei (No. 20377734D).
Received  2023-03-28
Accepted  2023-08-04
DOI: 10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2023.09.007
ZHAO N, MENG L H, ZHANG Y D, et al. White matter microstructural changes shortly after acute stress: A DTI study[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2023, 14(9): 39-43. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2023.09.007.

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