Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inflammation in those with PTSD linked to changes in microRNA

Date:
April 24, 2014
Source:
University of South Carolina
Summary:
With a new generation of military veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a prominent concern in American medical institutions and the culture at-large. Estimates indicate that as many as 35 percent of personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. New research is shedding light on how PTSD is linked to other diseases in fundamental and surprising ways.

With a new generation of military veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a prominent concern in American medical institutions and the culture at-large. Estimates indicate that as many as 35 percent of personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. New research from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine is shedding light on how PTSD is linked to other diseases in fundamental and surprising ways.

Related Articles


The rise in PTSD has implications beyond the impact of the psychiatric disorder and its immediate consequences, which include elevated suicide risk and inability to lead a normal life, that result in approximately $3 billion in lost productivity every year. Over time, these PTSD patients will continue to experience increased risks of a myriad of medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal disorders and others, all of which share chronic inflammation as a common underlying cause.

The mechanisms that trigger PTSD, and that cause PTSD patients to suffer from higher rates of chronic-inflammation-related medical conditions remain unknown. Additionally, PTSD is incurable, and though there are available treatments, they are often not completely effective. In an effort to get to the root of PTSD, and begin to understand the links between PTSD and the secondary diseases that often come with it, a team at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine is investigating PTSD through the lens of inflammation. They have recently published findings of a new study, "Dysregulation in microRNA Expression is Associated with Alterations in Immune Functions in Combat Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder," in the journal PLOS ONE.

In this study, led by Drs. Prakash Nagarkatti and Mitzi Nagarkatti, the authors investigated microRNA profiles and tried to establish a link between the microRNA and inflammation in combat veterans of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are PTSD patients at the Dorn VA Medical Center. MicroRNA are small, noncoding RNA that can switch human genes on and off, effectively controlling gene expression. Some specific types of microRNA are known to regulate genes involved in inflammation, making them a kind of marker that can indicate when inflammation is present.

The microRNA role in PTSD has not been investigated previous to this study, which found that the PTSD patients had significant alterations in microRNA expression. The study analyzed 1163 microRNA and found that the expression of microRNA that regulate genes involved in inflammation were altered in PTSD patients. The alterations were found to be linked to heightened inflammation in these patients.

Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti sums up the significance of this study as follows: "We are very excited about these results. Thus far, no one had looked at the role of microRNA in the blood of PTSD patients. Thus, our finding that the alterations in these small molecules are connected to higher inflammation seen in these patients is very interesting and helps establish the connection between war trauma and microRNA changes."

In addition to the alterations in microRNA expression, the study also found that PTSD patients had higher levels of inflammation caused by certain types of immune cells called T cells. These T cells produced higher levels of inflammatory mediators called cytokines, specifically interferon-gamma and interleukin-17. This finding was especially interesting because one of the inflammation-associated microRNAs, miR-125a, which specifically targets increased production of interferon-gamma, was found to have decreased expression in the PTSD patients studied. Overall, these results suggested that trauma may cause alterations in the expression of microRNA which promote inflammation in PTSD patients.

Commenting on this, Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti said, "These studies form the foundation to further analyze the role of microRNA in PTSD. Trauma experienced during war may trigger changes in microRNA which may in turn cause various clinical disorders seen in PTSD patients. Our long-term goal is to identify whether PTSD patients express a unique signature profile of microRNA which can be used towards early detection, prevention and treatment of PTSD."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of South Carolina. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Juhua Zhou, Prakash Nagarkatti, Yin Zhong, Jay P. Ginsberg, Narendra P. Singh, Jiajia Zhang, Mitzi Nagarkatti. Dysregulation in microRNA Expression Is Associated with Alterations in Immune Functions in Combat Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (4): e94075 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094075

Cite This Page:

University of South Carolina. "Inflammation in those with PTSD linked to changes in microRNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102843.htm>.
University of South Carolina. (2014, April 24). Inflammation in those with PTSD linked to changes in microRNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102843.htm
University of South Carolina. "Inflammation in those with PTSD linked to changes in microRNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102843.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins