Longitudinal analyses of the DNA methylome in deployed military servicemen identify susceptibility loci for post-traumatic stress disorder
de Nijs, L
van den Hove, D
© The Author(s) 2017. Open access. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
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.
The recruitments and assessments and subjects in the discovery data set were funded by the Dutch Ministry of Defence, and the DNA methylation and mRNA analyses of discovery data set were funded by the VENI Award fellowship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, grant number 916.11.086) to BPFR. Statistical analyses were carried out on the Genetic Cluster Computer (http://www.geneticcluster.org) hosted by SURFsara and financially supported by the Netherlands Scientific Organization (NWO 480-05-003 PI: Posthuma) along with a supplement from the Dutch Brain Foundation and VU University Amsterdam. The Marine Resilience Study was funded by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Health Service Research and Development project SDR 09-0128, the Marine Corps, and the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (to DGB) and NIH 1 R01MH093500 (to CN).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer Nature via the DOI in this record.
Published online 20 June 2017
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © The Author(s) 2017. Open access. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.