Post-traumatic stress disorder: A biopsychosocial case-control study investigating peripheral blood protein biomarkers

Daniel Maguire, Joanne Watt, Cherie Armour, Melissa Milanak, Susan Lagdon, John V. Lamont, Mary Jo Kurth, Peter Fitzgerald, Tara C. B. Moore, Mark Ruddock

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Experiencing traumatic events is unfortunately commonplace and, in some cases, may lead to the onset of debilitating mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Current diagnostic criteria for PTSD results in high depression and anxiety comorbidity. Better understanding of biological mechanisms and pathways underlying PTSD could aid in more accurate case identification and stratification of treatments. Recent meta-analysis has identified chronic PTSD to be associated with increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and alterations in neuronal structures which contribute to an overall reduction in brain volume. Despite this, there are currently no biological markers in clinical use to identify PTSD or monitor treatment. This case-control study (n=40) aimed to identify differences in peripheral blood biomarkers, and biomarker combinations, able to distinguish PTSD participants from controls, and examine in a biopsychosocial framework. The levels of 5/37 biomarkers investigated were significantly altered in the serum of PTSD participants: HDL and LDL cholesterol, tPA, IL-8 and EGF. Biomarkers could be used in combination with psychological criteria, in a biopsychosocial model, to support clinical management decisions and ensure appropriate individual treatment pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100042
Number of pages8
JournalBiomarkers in Neuropsychiatry
Early online date13 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Dec 2021


  • PTSD
  • Comorbidity
  • Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Interleukin-8


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