New genetic research could lead to more effective therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study, published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity sheds new light on how PTSD is related to inflammatory processes of blood. However, the mechanisms that make PTSD patients more likely to suffer from chronic inflammation are still unclear.
"I was really excited about the incredible potential of modern genetic engineering to pinpoint the biological mechanisms that underlie PTSD symptoms," said study author Heather L. Rusch, a research fellow at the National Institute of Nursing Research.
"Talk therapy and antidepressants are today the first-line therapies for PTSD. However, they do not work for everyone, so many patients have no viable options. If we can learn how the disorder works at the genetic level, we can develop more effective treatments with reduced side effects. "
" PTSD can be difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other mental and physical health conditions. If the PTSD is misdiagnosed, patients will not receive the right treatment, which can be harmful. We wanted to find out which symptoms have a specific genetic relationship with a PTSD diagnosis to make diagnostic tests and treatments with higher precision.
For their study, researchers compared 39 members of the US military with PTSD to 27 non-PTSD service members. Participants underwent a psychiatric examination and had their blood drawn again at the beginning of the study and after 1
The researchers found that differences in gene expression were almost exclusively due to break-in symptoms. They also found evidence that these PTSD symptoms are associated with higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers.
Intrusive symptoms (such as re-experiencing trauma, nightmares, and flashbacks), while the other PTSD symptoms, such as cognitive deficits, depressive moods, and irritability, which are common in other conditions, have no genetic differences, "Rusch PsyPost said ,
"This underlines the importance of focusing on the intrusive symptoms of precision medicine. In addition, we found that intrusive symptoms were associated with increased expression of immune response genes that normalized with a reduction in symptoms. From an evolutionary point of view, it would make sense for a threat reaction to be accompanied by an immune reaction – something that scares you and can most likely hurt you. "
The results indicate promising new therapies, but more research is needed.
"The biggest limitation of our study is our small sample size of mostly male participants. We are currently replicating the study in a larger sample. We use advanced technologies that allow us to study both known and unknown genes. "
" Ultimately, we would like to use these genetic tests to predict who will develop PTSD after a traumatic event and identify the most effective treatment for a particular patient. In addition, we plan to develop objective measures to address a patient's response to treatment. If this does not work, we want to know this early so we can change the treatment plan. "
People with PTSD are at an increased risk for a variety of inflammations. related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and gastrointestinal diseases.
"First-line therapies for PTSD target mental symptoms; However, the presence of immune response genes suggests the need for a more comprehensive approach to addressing the biological consequences of trauma. It is possible that the growing interest in alternative therapies for PTSD, such as meditation, yoga and other interventions that increase physical activity or alter food intake, may be beneficial because of its anti-inflammatory effect. "
" I'd Like It's anticipated that this research will open a series of research into novel therapeutics that can target inflammation markers directly and lead to improved psychological and biological outcomes.
The study "Differences in gene expression in PTSD are clearly related to the intrusive symptom cluster: a transcriptome-wide analysis in military members," written by Heather L. Rusch, Jeffrey Robinson, Sijung Yun, Nicole D. Osier, Christina Martin, Chris R Brewin and Jessica M. Gill.