Biomarkers for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Blood based diagnostic marker for Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) poses a significant burden on emotional and physical health and health care costs. According to US Department of Veterans Affairs, about 12% of Gulf war veterans, including those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from PTSD in a given year and about 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime. The annual treatment cost for PTSD among service members is estimated to be approximately $1.6 billion. The onset of PTSD is known to be influenced by various biological (e.g. glucocorticoid sensitivity) and socio-economic risk factors (e.g. ethnicity and education levels).

PTSD is a syndrome involving alteration of neuro-cognitive functions in brain. Emerging data suggests that this condition is a multisystem disorder affecting many biological systems including cardiovascular, liver metabolism, and immune system, raising the possibility that peripheral markers of illness may have utility in establishing the diagnosis of PTSD. At the current time, there are no validated biomarkers or laboratory tests that distinguish among trauma survivors with and without PTSD. Rather, diagnostic assessments are based on subjective clinical assessment, which can be affected by both over-reporting and under-reporting of symptoms. In addition, heterogeneity in clinical presentations of PTSD and overlapping symptoms with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury and major depressive disorder, may mislead diagnosis and ultimately result in inappropriate treatment. Therefore, objective biomarkers that can facilitate the process of diagnosing and differentiating PTSD are needed.

ISB is part of the Systems Biology of PTSD Consortium, whose aim is to identify PTSD diagnostic marker(s) using samples collected from combat-exposed military personnel with and without PTSD. To date, we have characterized the plasma proteome and microRNAome and identified a panel of biomarker candidates including microRNAs (miRNAs) and proteins that showed good performance to detect PTSD. The biomarker panel will be used to identify individuals with PTSD so that immediate or early intervention methods can reduce or improve the health impact of military personnel with PTSD.

Multi-omic biomarker identification and validation for diagnosing warzone-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Dean, K. R., Hammamieh, R., Mellon, S. H., Abu-Amara, D., Flory, J. D., Guffanti, G., Wang, K., Daigle, B. J. Jr., Gautam, A., Lee, I., Yang, R., Almli, L. M., Bersani, F. S., Chakraborty, N., Donohue, D., Kerley, K., Kim, T. K., Laska, E., Lee, M., Lindqvist, D., Lori, A., Lu, L., Misganaw, B., Muhie, S., Newman, J., Price, N. D., Qin, S., Reus, V. I., Siegel, C., Somvanshi, P. R., Thakur, G. S., Zhou, Y.; PTSD Systems Biology Consortium, Hood, L., Ressler, K. J., Wolkowitz, O. M., Yehuda, R., Jett, M., Doyle, F. J. 3rd., Marmar, C. (2019) Mol Psychiatry. 10.1038/s41380-019-0496-z. PMID: 31501510

Distinct profiles of extracellular vesicles-incorporated microRNA and cell-free miRNAs in whole plasma of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Lee, M. Y., Baxter, D., Scherler, K., Wu, X., Kim, T. K., Abu-Amara, D., Flory, J., Yehuda, R., Marmar, C., Jett, M., Lee, I, Wang, K., Hood, L., PTSD consortium (2019) J. Clin. Med. 8 (7), 963. PMID: 31277223

Current Project Leads:

Kai WangInyoul LeeLeroy Hood