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Associations of polygenic risk scores with posttraumatic stress symptom trajectories following combat deployment

Identification of genetic risk factors may inform the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study evaluates the associations of polygenic risk scores (PRS) with patterns of posttraumatic stress symptoms following combat deployment. US Army soldiers of European ancestry (n = 4900) provided genomic data and ratings of posttraumatic stress symptoms before and after deployment to Afghanistan in 2012. Latent growth mixture modeling was used to model posttraumatic stress symptom trajectories among participants who provided post-deployment data (n = 4353). Multinomial logistic regression models tested independent associations between trajectory membership and PRS for PTSD, major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia, neuroticism, alcohol use disorder, and suicide attempt, controlling for age, sex, ancestry, and exposure to potentially traumatic events, and weighted to account for uncertainty in trajectory classification and missing data. Participants were classified into low-severity (77.2%), increasing-severity (10.5%), decreasing-severity (8.0%), and high-severity (4.3%) posttraumatic stress symptom trajectories. Standardized PTSD-PRS and MDD-PRS were associated with greater odds of membership in the high-severity v. low-severity trajectory [adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals, 1.23 (1.06-1.43) and 1.18 (1.02-1.37), respectively] and the increasing-severity v. low-severity trajectory [1.12 (1.01-1.25) and 1.16 (1.04-1.28), respectively]. Additionally, MDD-PRS was associated with greater odds of membership in the decreasing-severity v. low-severity trajectory [1.16 (1.03-1.31)]. No other associations were statistically significant. Higher polygenic risk for PTSD or MDD is associated with more severe posttraumatic stress symptom trajectories following combat deployment. PRS may help stratify at-risk individuals, enabling more precise targeting of treatment and prevention programs.

Authors: Campbell-Sills, Laura; Papini, Santiago; Norman, Sonya B; Choi, Karmel W; He, Feng; Sun, Xiaoying; Kessler, Ronald C; Ursano, Robert J; Jain, Sonia; Stein, Murray B

Psychol Med. 2023 Mar 06:1-10.

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