Pre-existing high glucocorticoid receptor number predicting development of posttraumatic stress symptoms after military deployment.
ABSTRACT The development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is influenced by preexisting vulnerability factors. The authors aimed at identifying a preexisting biomarker representing a vulnerability factor for the development of PTSD. To that end, they determined whether the dexamethasone binding capacity of leukocytes, as a measure of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) number, before exposure to trauma was a predictor of development of PTSD symptoms. In addition, the authors analyzed mRNA expression for GR subtypes and GR target genes.
Participants were selected from a large prospective study on deployment-related disorders, in which peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained prior to and 1 and 6 months after military deployment. Participants included armed forces personnel with high levels of PTSD symptoms 6 months after deployment (N=34) and comparison subjects without high levels of PTSD or depressive symptoms (N=34) matched for age, rank, previous deployments, educational level, and function during deployment.
Before military deployment, the GR number in PBMCs was significantly higher in participants who developed high levels of PTSD symptoms after deployment relative to matched comparison subjects. Logistic regression analysis showed that the risk for inclusion in the PTSD group after deployment increased 7.5-fold with each GR increase of 1,000. No group differences were observed in mRNA expression of GR-α, GR-P, GR-β, glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ), serum and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase-1 (SGK-1), and FKBP5. The higher GR number in the PTSD group was maintained at 1 and 6 months after deployment.
These results demonstrate that a preexisting high GR number in PBMCs is a vulnerability factor for subsequent development of PTSD symptoms.
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ABSTRACT: The identification of biomarkers for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and resilience/recovery is critical for advancing knowledge about pathophysiology and treatment in trauma-exposed persons. This study examined a series of glucocorticoid-related biomarkers prior to and in response to psychotherapy. Fifty-two male and female veterans with PTSD were randomized 2 : 1 to receive either prolonged exposure (PE) therapy or a weekly minimal attention (MA) intervention for 12 consecutive weeks. Psychological and biological assessments were obtained prior to and following treatment and after a 12-week naturalistic follow-up. Response was defined dichotomously as no longer meeting criteria for PTSD at post-treatment based on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS). Clinical improvement on the CAPS was apparent for both PE and MA, with no significant difference according to treatment condition. Biomarkers predictive of treatment gains included the BCLI polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene. Additional predictors of treatment response were higher bedtime salivary cortisol and 24 h urinary cortisol excretion. Pre-treatment plasma dehydroepiandrosterone/cortisol ratio and neuropetide Y (NPY) levels were predictors of reductions in PTSD symptoms, and, for NPY only, of other secondary outcomes as well, including anxiety and depression ratings. Glucocorticoid sensitivity changed in association with symptom change, reflecting clinical state. It is possible to distinguish prognostic and state biomarkers of PTSD using a longitudinal approach in the context of treatment. Identified markers may also be relevant to understanding mechanisms of action of symptom reduction.Interface focus: a theme supplement of Journal of the Royal Society interface 10/2014; 4(5):20140048. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Early interventions are a preferred method for addressing behavioral problems in high-risk children, but often have only modest effects. Identifying sources of variation in intervention effects can suggest means to improve efficiency. One potential source of such variation is the genome. We conducted a genetic analysis of the Fast Track randomized control trial, a 10-year-long intervention to prevent high-risk kindergarteners from developing adult externalizing problems including substance abuse and antisocial behavior. We tested whether variants of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1 were associated with differences in response to the Fast Track intervention. We found that in European-American children, a variant of NR3C1 identified by the single-nucleotide polymorphism rs10482672 was associated with increased risk for externalizing psychopathology in control group children and decreased risk for externalizing psychopathology in intervention group children. Variation in NR3C1 measured in this study was not associated with differential intervention response in African-American children. We discuss implications for efforts to prevent externalizing problems in high-risk children and for public policy in the genomic era.Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 01/2015; · 0.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The current study examined the long-term effects of neonatal amygdala (Neo-A) lesions on brain corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) systems and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function of male and female prepubertal rhesus monkeys. At 12-months-old, CSF levels of CRF were measured and HPA axis activity was characterized by examining diurnal cortisol rhythm and response to pharmacological challenges. Compared with controls, Neo-A animals showed higher cortisol secretion throughout the day, and Neo-A females also showed higher CRF levels. Hypersecretion of basal cortisol, in conjunction with blunted pituitary-adrenal responses to CRF challenge, suggest HPA axis hyperactivity caused by increased CRF hypothalamic drive leading to downregulation of pituitary CRF receptors in Neo-A animals. This interpretation is supported by the increased CRF CSF levels, suggesting that Neo-A damage resulted in central CRF systems overactivity. Neo-A animals also exhibited enhanced glucocorticoid negative feedback, as reflected by an exaggerated cortisol suppression following dexamethasone administration, indicating an additional effect on glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function. Together these data demonstrate that early amygdala damage alters the typical development of the primate HPA axis resulting in increased rather than decreased activity, presumably via alterations in central CRF and GR systems in neural structures that control its activity. Thus, in contrast to evidence that the amygdala stimulates both CRF and HPA axis systems in the adult, our data suggest an opposite, inhibitory role of the amygdala on the HPA axis during early development, which fits with emerging literature on "developmental switches" in amygdala function and connectivity with other brain areas.Journal of Neuroscience 08/2014; 34(34):11452-60. · 6.75 Impact Factor