Epigenetic alterations of the BDNF gene in combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder

T. Y. Kim, S. J. Kim, H. G. Chung, J. H. Choi, Se Hyun Kim, J. I. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a crucial role in modulating resilience and vulnerability to stress. The aim of this study was to investigate whether epigenetic regulation of the BDNF gene is a biomarker of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) development among veterans exposed to combat in the Vietnam War. Methods: Using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, combat veterans were grouped into those with (n = 126) and without (n = 122) PTSD. DNA methylation levels at four CpG sites within the BDNF promoter I region were quantified in the peripheral blood using pyrosequencing. The effects of BDNF DNA methylation levels and clinical variables on the diagnosis of PTSD were tested using binary logistic regression analysis. Results: Subjects with PTSD showed a higher DNA methylation of four CpG sites at the BDNF promoter compared with those without PTSD. High methylation levels at the BDNF promoter CpG site, high combat exposure, and alcohol problems were significantly associated with PTSD diagnosis. Conclusions: This study demonstrated an association between higher DNA methylation of the BDNF promoter and PTSD diagnosis in combat-exposed individuals. Our findings suggest that altered BDNF methylation may be a valuable biomarker of PTSD after trauma exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume135
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Fingerprint

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Epigenomics
DNA Methylation
Genes
Veterans
Methylation
Biomarkers
Vietnam
Genetic Promoter Regions
Logistic Models
Regression Analysis
Alcohols
Wounds and Injuries

Keywords

  • BDNF
  • DNA methylation
  • epigenetics
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • trauma

Cite this

Kim, T. Y. ; Kim, S. J. ; Chung, H. G. ; Choi, J. H. ; Kim, Se Hyun ; Kang, J. I. / Epigenetic alterations of the BDNF gene in combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. In: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2017 ; Vol. 135, No. 2. pp. 170-179.
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Epigenetic alterations of the BDNF gene in combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. / Kim, T. Y.; Kim, S. J.; Chung, H. G.; Choi, J. H.; Kim, Se Hyun; Kang, J. I.

In: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Vol. 135, No. 2, 01.02.2017, p. 170-179.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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