Researchers find genetic link to PTSD
(Medical Xpress) -- A team of Swiss and German researchers has found that a certain gene allele can be linked to increased emotional memory retention and because of that appears to be a factor in people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The team, as they describe in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted emotional memory tests on a large random group of people and then again on a sample of people in a Rwandan refugee camp who had survived atrocities committed during the genocide that occurred there in 1994, and found a common genetic link between emotional memory retention and the likelihood of developing PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event.
Suspecting that people who carried a variant of the PRKCA gene, called the A allele, which has been associated with memory retention, might experience better memory retention regarding emotional experiences, the team enlisted 700 volunteers to undergo testing. Participants first submitted samples for DNA screening, then were shown pictures of emotional events and were asked several minutes later to provide details of what they’d seen. The group that had two copies of the A allele variant were able to recall more details about what they’d seen. Another group that had a pair of so-called G alleles fared the worst, while those that had just one of each wound up somewhere in-between.
To get a more accurate picture of what was going on, the team next enlisted a group of 394 volunteers to undergo the same test, only this time, each did so while laying in an fMRI machine as researchers watched to see which parts of their brains were getting busy. Not surprisingly, they found that those areas of the brain associated with memory were activated in all the participants. Those with the A allele pairs, however, showed the most activity while those with G alleles showed the least and those with one of each once again fell in-between. They also found that those with A alleles demonstrated more activity in parts of their brains that have previously been associated with storing emotional memories.
Having confirmed their suspicions, the team next tested 347 volunteers that had survived the Rwandan genocide campaign and who were now living in a Ugandan refugee camp. They found that the vast majority of those still suffering from PTSD had pairs of A alleles and that as a group were twice as likely to suffer from PTSD as those with either one or no A alleles.
These results, the team concludes, demonstrate a clear link between A alleles and emotional memory retention and a higher propensity for developing PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event.
More information: PKCα is genetically linked to memory capacity in healthy subjects and to risk for posttraumatic stress disorder in genocide survivors, PNAS, Published online before print May 14, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1200857109
Strong memory of a traumatic event is thought to contribute to the development and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, a genetic predisposition to build strong memories could lead to increased risk for PTSD after a traumatic event. Here we show that genetic variability of the gene encoding PKCα (PRKCA) was associated with memory capacityincluding aversive memoryin nontraumatized subjects of European descent. This finding was replicated in an independent sample of nontraumatized subjects, who additionally underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI analysis revealed PRKCA genotype-dependent brain activation differences during successful encoding of aversive information. Further, the identified genetic variant was also related to traumatic memory and to the risk for PTSD in heavily traumatized survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Our results indicate a role for PKCα in memory and suggest a genetic link between memory and the risk for PTSD.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
© 2012 Phys.Org
- Researchers induce PTSD symptoms in mice Feb 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Controlling our brain's perception of emotional events Apr 20, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Rwandan genocide survivors provide new insights into resilience and PTSD Feb 25, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Reduced recognition of fear and sadness in post-traumatic stress disorder Aug 16, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in women linked to history of rape, child abuse Nov 29, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Northwestern University scientists have shown a gene involved in neurodegenerative disease also plays a critical role in the proper function of the circadian clock.
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Informed consent is the backbone of patient care. Genetic testing has long required patient consent and patients have had a "right not to know" the results. However, as 21st century medicine now begins to use the tools of ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 3 |
Ethicists provide framework supporting new recommendations on reporting incidental findings in gene sequencing
In a paper published in Science Express, a group of experts led by bioethicists in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine provide a framework for the new American College of Medical Geneti ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
The use of genome-wide analysis (GWA), where the entirety of an individual's DNA is examined to look for the genomic mutations or variants which can cause health problems is a massively useful technology for diagnosing disease. ...
Genetics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
DNA databases might help identify victims of crime and human trafficking, but how do we safeguard the personal privacy of innocent victims and family members? A new report online May 15 in the Cell Press journal Trends in ...
Genetics May 15, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
13 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
2 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0