A recent study shows that there is a link between PTSD, genetics and immune response. The findings were published in the Journal Molecular Psychiatry.
According to the team of scientists from the UK and the US, there are genetic markers that can be determined through blood samples that are connected with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the body’s immune response to the condition. The results can contribute to the development of new diagnostic methods which can prevent this condition from appearing and therapies that can help patients regain their normal lives.
PTSD is a mental health condition that results from startling events or circumstances. Frequent situations that trigger PTSD include violent assaults, accidents, human-caused or natural disasters and military battles.
Some calculations say that about 6.8% of U.S. citizens will experience PTSD sometimes in their lives. Most people suffering from this condition find themselves having intermittent and troubling memories regarding the triggering event. They can also suffer from insomnia, a continuous feeling of sadness and tension and even develop self-destructive thoughts.
The study implied taking blood samples from 188 US Marines before and after being sent to battle. Using transcription RNA sequencing the team detected sets of genes that control the innate immune system and interferon signaling that were also linked to PTSD.
Co-senior author Christopher H. Woelk, PhD, of the University of Southampton and UC-San Diego, considers that because the “causal (pre-deployment) and consequential (post-deployment) discoveries” were identified due to blood samples, the results show that people predisposed to PTSD can be identified “through high-throughput profiling of molecular data”.
The question arisen from this study is: what causes the activation of interferon before PTSD sets in?
According to lead researcher Dr. Dewleen G. Baker, of the Veteran Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, CA, and the University of California-San Diego, there are many factors that could trigger interferon release, “ranging from a simple explanation of increased anticipatory stress prior to deployment or more complex scenarios where individuals may have a higher viral load”.
He added that this question might be answered with the help of future studies. The team hopes this study will encourage the development of a biomarker blood panel that could be used to identify people predisposed to PTSD.
These hereditary markers could also be used to develop personal prevention methods and customized PTSD therapies.
Image Source: Global Research