Longitudinal analyses of the DNA methylome in deployed military servicemen identify susceptibility loci for post-traumatic stress disorder.


In order to determine the impact of the epigenetic response to traumatic stress on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this study examined longitudinal changes of genome-wide blood DNA methylation profiles in relation to the development of PTSD symptoms in two prospective military cohorts (one discovery and one replication data set). In the first cohort consisting of male Dutch military servicemen (n=93), the emergence of PTSD symptoms over a deployment period to a combat zone was significantly associated with alterations in DNA methylation levels at 17 genomic positions and 12 genomic regions. Evidence for mediation of the relation between combat trauma and PTSD symptoms by longitudinal changes in DNA methylation was observed at several positions and regions. Bioinformatic analyses of the reported associations identified significant enrichment in several pathways relevant for symptoms of PTSD. Targeted analyses of the significant findings from the discovery sample in an independent prospective cohort of male US marines (n=98) replicated the observed relation between decreases in DNA methylation levels and PTSD symptoms at genomic regions in ZFP57, RNF39 and HIST1H2APS2. Together, our study pinpoints three novel genomic regions where longitudinal decreases in DNA methylation across the period of exposure to combat trauma marks susceptibility for PTSD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 20 June 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.120.

DOI: 10.1038/mp.2017.120

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@article{Rutten2017LongitudinalAO, title={Longitudinal analyses of the DNA methylome in deployed military servicemen identify susceptibility loci for post-traumatic stress disorder.}, author={Bart P. F. Rutten and Eric Vermetten and Christiaan H. Vinkers and Gianluca Ursini and Nikolaos P Daskalakis and Ehsan Pishva and Laurence de Nijs and Lotte C Houtepen and Lars M. T. Eijssen and Andrew E Jaffe and Gunter R L Kenis and Wolfgang Viechtbauer and Dani{\"{e}l L A van den Hove and K G Schraut and K. P. Lesch and Joel Kleinman and Thomas Hyde and Daniel R Weinberger and L C Schalkwyk and Katie Lunnon and John Stuart Mill and Hagit Cohen and Rachel Yehuda and Dewleen G. Baker and Adam X. Maihofer and Caroline M. Nievergelt and Elbert Geuze and Marco P. M. Boks}, journal={Molecular psychiatry}, year={2017} }