PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Scientists uncover 95 regions of the genome linked to PTSD

Findings from the largest genetic study of PTSD to date could help explain why only some people develop the condition after experiencing trauma.

2024-04-18
(Press-News.org) In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intrusive thoughts, changes in mood, and other symptoms after exposure to trauma can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. About 6 percent of people who experience trauma develop the disorder, but scientists don’t yet understand the neurobiology underlying PTSD. 

Now, a new genetic study of more than 1.2 million people has pinpointed 95 loci, or locations in the genome, that are associated with risk of developing PTSD, including 80 that had not been previously identified. The study, from the PTSD working group within the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC - PTSD) together with Cohen Veterans Bioscience, is the largest and most diverse of its kind, and also identified 43 genes that appear to have a role in causing PTSD. The work appears in Nature Genetics.

“This discovery firmly validates that heritability is a central feature of PTSD based on the largest PTSD genetics study conducted to date and reinforces there is a genetic component that contributes to the complexity of PTSD,” said Caroline Nievergelt, co-first and corresponding author on the study and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Adam Maihofer, a genetic epidemiologist in Nievergelt’s lab, was a co-first author as well.

The findings both confirm previously discovered genetic underpinnings of PTSD and provide many novel targets for future investigation that could lead to new prevention and treatment strategies.

“It's exciting that we see the exponential increase in loci with increases in sample size we see for other disorders,” said Karestan Koenen, senior author on the study, an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and an investigator with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad. Koenen leads the Stanley Center’s Biology of Trauma Initiative and the Global Neuropsychiatric Genomics Initiative, and is a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “This is a milestone for PTSD genetics.”

Genetic roots

Previous twin and genetic studies, including an investigation by the same team in 2017 and an expanded study in 2019, showed that PTSD has a genetic component, and that many genes contribute to the condition. 

But these analyses pointed to different genetic loci across datasets, and many studies struggled to distinguish loci that were specific to PTSD risk from those that were also linked to conditions such as depression and cardiovascular disease. Genetic datasets have also historically focused on people of European ancestry, even though there is a disproportionately high burden of trauma and PTSD among people of African, Native American, and Latin American ancestry in the United States and globally.

In the new study, Nievergelt, Koenen, and other researchers from the PGC compiled data from 88 different genome-wide association studies, which use genetic data from large groups of people to look for associations between regions of the genome and the chance of developing a condition or trait. In all, the dataset contained information about the risk of developing PTSD from more than 1.2 million individuals of European ancestry (including about 140,000 with PTSD), about 50,000 with African ancestry (including about 12,000 with PTSD), and about 7,000 with Native American ancestry (about 2,000 with PTSD).

Meta-analysis of the data revealed 95 loci strongly associated with PTSD, including 80 that had not been identified previously. Forty three genes appeared to play a role in causing PTSD, including some that affect brain cells called neurons, brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, ion channels (which allow ions to pass in and out of cells), connections between neurons called synapses, and the endocrine and immune systems. The researchers found that PTSD shared many genetic features with depression, as well as several PTSD-specific loci.

Although previous studies found a higher prevalence of PTSD in females than males, the researchers did not find evidence for this in their data. They examined the X chromosome, which earlier studies did not do, and found five loci linked with PTSD. But they add that these changes on the X chromosome would have similar effects in males and females. 

To more deeply probe how PTSD genetics affect the brain, the team studied gene expression data and found that the cerebellum, the brain region that controls movement and balance, may be involved in the disorder in addition to regions scientists have previously connected with PTSD, such as the cortex and amygdala. In particular, the research team found that interneurons, which connect motor and sensory neurons, were involved in PTSD risk. Future studies could help determine how key genes in these tissues and cells affect PTSD symptoms and behaviors.

“For the first time, we are approaching a genetic architecture for PTSD, which both validates prior understanding of some of the critical biology underlying trauma-related disorders, while also pointing towards exciting and novel new targets and mechanisms,” said Kerry Ressler, a co-leader of the PGC - PTSD working group, chief scientific officer at McLean Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “These data are an important first step in next generation approaches to novel interventions for PTSD.”

In line with previous findings, Nievergelt, Koenen, and their colleagues also found that polygenic scores — a calculation of a person’s genetic chance of developing a certain condition based on millions of single-letter changes in their DNA — for PTSD risk are not readily translatable across populations. The researchers say this disparity highlights the importance of continuing to expand the depth and diversity of populations included in future studies of PTSD.

“We know that trauma and PTSD disproportionately affects under-resourced populations globally, particularly African ancestry populations,” said Koenen. “Our next steps will focus on addressing that inequity through partnerships with African scientists to make sure research in PTSD genetics benefits everyone equally.”

 

Funding:

This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Cohen Veterans Bioscience, and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute.

 

Paper cited:

Nievergelt CM, Maihofer AX et al. Genome-wide association analyses identify 95 risk loci and provide insights into the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder. Nature Genetics. Online April 18, 2024. DOI: 10.1038/s41588-024-01707-9.

 

About Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community.

Founded by MIT, Harvard, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide.

END


ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

AI tool predicts responses to cancer therapy using information from each cell of the tumor

AI tool predicts responses to cancer therapy using information from each cell of the tumor
2024-04-18
With more than 200 types of cancer and every cancer individually unique, ongoing efforts to develop precision oncology treatments remain daunting. Most of the focus has been on developing genetic sequencing assays or analyses to identify mutations in cancer driver genes, then trying to match treatments that may work against those mutations. But many, if not most, cancer patients do not benefit from these early targeted therapies. In a new study published on April 18, 2024, in the journal Nature Cancer, first author Sanju Sinha, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Cancer Molecular Therapeutics ...

CEOs’ human concern translates into higher stock price

2024-04-18
Compassionate leadership has tangible benefits: CEOs’ expressions of empathy correlate with positive stock performance, a study led by the University of Zurich shows. The researchers analyzed data from conference calls between CEOs and financial analysts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted an unprecedented financial crisis. Between 24 February 2020, and 20 March 2020, the value of U.S. companies on the stock market decreased significantly, surpassing the decline during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. At the onset of the pandemic, several CEOs made statements ...

Smoking-related deaths could be reduced if people attending lung cancer screening are offered stop-smoking support

2024-04-18
A new study has found that by offering stop smoking support as part of the national lung cancer screening programme, there is potential to save lives, and dedicated funding must be considered by policy makers. The results of the study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, showed that offering stop smoking support at the same time and in the same place as lung screening, resulted in a high uptake of support across a range of demographic characteristics. This has the potential to reduce smoking-related illness and death in a high-risk ...

Quick decisions in soccer enhanced by brain’s ability to suppress actions

Quick decisions in soccer enhanced by brain’s ability to suppress actions
2024-04-18
To pass or not to pass, that is the question faced by soccer players the world over in every match. It might be unsurprising that higher skilled players exhibit better execution of actions than lower skilled ones, but now an Osaka Metropolitan University-led research team has evidence that the neural process to suppress actions also plays an important role. Research Center for Urban Health and Sports Assistant Professor Takahiro Matsutake and colleagues conducted an experiment to see how three levels of soccer players perform when faced with the same tasks. The ...

Recycling CFRP waste is a challenge, but we've found a way to make it work

Recycling CFRP waste is a challenge, but weve found a way to make it work
2024-04-18
Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are lighter and stronger than metal and are used in a variety of industries, including aviation, aerospace, automotive, marine, and sporting goods. In recent years, it has also been applied to new industries such as air mobility, which has led to an increase in its use and a waste disposal problem. However, CFRP is not naturally degradable, and high-temperature incineration methods emit toxic substances and cause environmental pollution, so it is urgent to develop ...

Advanced nuclear magnetic resonance technique developed to reveal precise structural and dynamical details in zeolites

Advanced nuclear magnetic resonance technique developed to reveal precise structural and dynamical details in zeolites
2024-04-18
Zeolites are widely used in many industries. There is still a need to fully understand their intrinsic catalytic nature due to the complexity of the hydroxyl-aluminum moieties. Atomic-scale analysis of local environments for the hydroxyl species is essential for revealing the intrinsic catalytic activity of zeolites and guiding the design of high-performance catalysts. However, many unfavorable factors prohibit the elucidation of their fine structures such as low quantity, meta-stable property, structural similarity, ...

Advancing performance assessment of a spectral beam splitting hybrid PV/T system with water-based SiO2 nanofluid

Advancing performance assessment of a spectral beam splitting hybrid PV/T system with water-based SiO2 nanofluid
2024-04-18
As the globe grapples with the urgent need to shift from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources, solar power stands as a beacon of hope. However, a significant challenge has been to efficiently capture and utilize the full spectrum of sunlight. Traditional photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into electricity but can't use the entire solar spectrum, especially the infrared part which is often wasted as heat. To address this, photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) systems have been developed. These hybrid systems ...

Researchers realize target protein stability analysis by time-resolved ultraviolet photodissociation mass spectrometry

2024-04-18
How mutations impact protein stability and structure dynamics is crucial for understanding the molecular mechanism of the disease and the targeted drug design. However, probing the molecular details of mutation-induced subtle structure dynamics is still challenging. Recently, a research group led by Prof. WANG Fangjun from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a time-resolved native mass spectrometry (TR-nMS) strategy coupled with ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) analysis. This ...

Oxygen vacancies mediated ultrathin Bi4O5Br2 nanosheets as efficient piezocatalyst for synthesis of H2O2 from pure water

Oxygen vacancies mediated ultrathin Bi4O5Br2 nanosheets as efficient piezocatalyst for synthesis of H2O2 from pure water
2024-04-18
As an important chemical raw material, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is widely applied in various aspects of industry and life. The industrial anthraquinone method for H2O2 production has the serious flaws, such as high pollution and energy consumption. By using ubiquitous mechanical energy, piezocatalytic H2O2 evolution has been proven as a promising strategy, but its progress is hindered by unsatisfied energy conversion efficiency. Bi4O5Br2 is regarded as a highly attractive photocatalytic material due to its unique sandwich ...

Warming and exogenous organic matter input affected temperature sensitivity and microbial carbon use efficiency of agricultural soil respiration on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Warming and exogenous organic matter input affected temperature sensitivity and microbial carbon use efficiency of agricultural soil respiration on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
2024-04-18
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is one of the most dramatically affected regions by global warming. For a long time, the region has been exposed by low temperature and soil moisture, which led to the severe inhibition of the soil biological activities and decomposition enzyme systems. As a result, the soil organic matter in this region decomposes slowly and accumulates in large quantities, underscoring its substantial potential for carbon release. In the face of climate warming, the low-temperature limiting ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Altering cancer treatment dosing could reduce climate impact, study finds

The secret sex life of coral revealed

New deep learning model is ‘game changer’ for measuring embryo development

Smarter foragers do not forage smarter

A unified account of Darwinism’s varieties

Marketers can manage 'feature creep'

Intermittent fasting shows promise in improving gut health, weight management

Scientists identify gene that could lead to resilient ‘pixie’ corn

Utilizing medical assistants to manage patient portal messages shown to support practice and physician efficiency

Study shows clinic continuity associated with reduced hospital and emergency visits

Recognizing the range of experiences among individuals of Latino, Hispanic, and/or Spanish origin is an essential step toward health equity

study reveals decline in reported medicare outpatient procedures by family physicians amid an aging population

COVID-19 pandemic leads to drop in breast cancer screenings, especially among older and racial minority women

Translating the Surgeon General’s framework on social isolation and loneliness to actionable steps in primary care

Point/counterpoint: Is prediabetes overdiagnosed?

Primary care clinics can help low-income families receive nutritional support benefits

The wall of evidence for continuity of care

Parents of children with serious illness from Somali, Hmong, and Latin American communities desire better communication and support in pediatric health care

Primary care can improve hygienic practices while reducing waste

HKUST researchers enhance performance of eco-friendly cooling applications by developing sustainable strategy to manipulate interfacial heat transfer

Variations in medical assistant to primary care clinician staffing ratios may reflect differences in practice ownership and organizational culture

Better disciplinary structures in schools can help reduce hate speech directed against Asian American students

Bringing back an ancient bird

Wistar research identifies mechanisms for selective multiple sclerosis treatment strategy

Fatherhood’s hidden heart health toll

The importance of integrated therapies on cancer: Silibinin, an old and new molecule

Texas A&M-led team creates first global map of seafloor biodiversity activity

Light therapy increases brain connectivity following injury

Power imbalance in health care reveals impact of race and role on team dynamics and DEI efforts

NRG Oncology appoints new vice-chairs for their patient advocate committee

[Press-News.org] Scientists uncover 95 regions of the genome linked to PTSD
Findings from the largest genetic study of PTSD to date could help explain why only some people develop the condition after experiencing trauma.