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Posttraumatic stress disorder onset and inflammatory and endothelial function biomarkers in women

BACKGROUND: Research has linked posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with higher circulating levels of inflammatory and endothelial function (EF) biomarkers, and effects may be bidirectional. We conducted the first investigation of new-onset PTSD and changes in inflammatory and EF biomarkers.METHODS: Data were from women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Biomarkers obtained at two blood draws, 10-16 years apart, included C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor-II (TNFRII), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). PTSD was assessed via interview. Analyses compared biomarker levels in women with PTSD that onset between draws (n = 175) to women with no history of trauma (n = 175) and to women with history of trauma at draw 1 and no PTSD at either draw (n = 175). We examined if PTSD onset was associated with biomarker change over time and if pre-PTSD-onset biomarker levels indicated risk of subsequent PTSD using linear mixed models and linear regression, respectively. Biomarkers were log-transformed.RESULTS: Compared to women without trauma, women in the PTSD onset group had larger increases in VCAM-1 over time (b = 0.003, p = .068). They also had higher TNFRII (b = 0.05, p = .049) and ICAM-1 (b = 0.04, p = .060) levels at draw 1 (prior to trauma and PTSD onset). However, pre-PTSD-onset biomarker levels did not predict onset of more severe PTSD.CONCLUSIONS: PTSD onset (vs. no trauma) was associated with increases in one inflammation-related biomarker. Effects may be small and cumulative; longer follow-up periods with larger samples are needed. We did not observe strong support that pre-PTSD-onset biomarkers predicted risk of subsequent PTSD.

Authors: Sumner, Jennifer A JA; Chen, Qixuan Q; Roberts, Andrea L AL; Winning, Ashley A; Rimm, Eric B EB; Gilsanz, Paola P; Glymour, M Maria MM; Tworoger, Shelley S SS; Koenen, Karestan C KC; Kubzansky, Laura D LD

Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2018 Mar ;69():203-209. Epub 2017-11-20.

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