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PTSD Linked To Innate Immune Function By Researchers

PTSD Study Marines

In a study conducted by researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom, Christopher Woelk at the University of Southampton and his colleagues examined patterns in peripheral blood samples taken from US Marines prior to and after combat deployment and found a connection between gene networks involved in the regulation of innate immune functions and interferon signaling to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The study’s lead author, Michael Breen from Southampton, was quoted by Genome Web in a statement as having said:

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 […] Because PTSD is thought to be such a complex disorder, measuring these dynamic relationships is crucial to better understanding the PTSD pathology.

The study, which was published on Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, was conducted as part of the broader Marine Resiliency Study. In the study, researchers gathered and analyzed the blood samples of 124 male Marines one month prior to deployment and then again three months after they had returned from deployment.

Co-author Dewleen Baker from the University of California, San Diego was quoted by Genome Web as having said that what was interesting “is that molecular signatures of innate immunity and interferon signaling were identified both after developing PTSD as well as before developing PTSD”.

A second group of Marines, 48 in total, were used to validate the study’s findings. This co-expressed genes linked to innate immune response and interferon signaling in PTSD’s development.

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