Study: Genetics linked to PTSD

Mar 11, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
Military veteran Cliff Drake is hooked up to neurofeedback electrodes / sensors at Brainsake, a brain wellness and biofeedback center in Bethesda, MD on January 14, 2015.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Recent research published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry looks at genetic markers of post traumatic stress disorder to examine gene expression among people with the condition from others who do not. Science Times reports:

In a new study published this week in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, a team of researchers with the University of Southampton (UK) and University of California, San Diego have uncovered the genetic markers that could theoretically allow them to identify soldiers or patients that may be most at risk, even before they're deployed at all.
Linking their study to the most noted occurrences of PTSD being after war-like situations of violence, the researchers investigated the blood of 188 US Marines before and after they were deployed into conflict zones. While past studies aimed to uncover genetic markers for PTSD by investigating varying gene expression in sufferers versus non-sufferers, the new study took a more encompassing approach that allowed them to look at the entire genome-not just what was happening at the level of expression.

"By comparing US Marines who develop PTSD symptoms to those who do not, we can measure differences in genes, but also take into consideration the dynamic relationships between and among them, their connectivity" lead author of the study with the University of Southampton, Michael S. Breen says. "Because PTSD is thought to be such a complex disorder, measuring these dynamic relationships is crucial to better understanding the PTSD pathology." 

Science World Report writes:

The study results revealed how many PTSD markers are connected to interferon signals that are hardwired to innate mechanisms of the immune system.
Researchers used the sequence of RNA transcriptome to further analyze blood samples. From there, they worked to determine the specific set of genes that actually regulate the signaling of interferon and innate of the immune system that are also linked to having PTSD.
With future studies, researchers hope to establish new insights into just what causes the interferon stimulation before traumatizing events that lead to the health issue take place. Despite how little is known surrounding this problem, researchers said they found the study particularly intriguing as it backs up previous evidence surrounding changes regarding how peripheral blood could lead to pathological changes changes in the brain.