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A Review of Epigenetics of PTSD in Comorbid Psychiatric Conditions

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
Center for Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
Clinical Genomics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(2), 140;
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics, Environment, and Brain Disorders)
PDF [316 KB, uploaded 19 February 2019]


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an acquired psychiatric disorder with functionally impairing physiological and psychological symptoms following a traumatic exposure. Genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors act together to determine both an individual’s susceptibility to PTSD and its clinical phenotype. In this literature review, we briefly review the candidate genes that have been implicated in the development and severity of the PTSD phenotype. We discuss the importance of the epigenetic regulation of these candidate genes. We review the general epigenetic mechanisms that are currently understood, with examples of each in the PTSD phenotype. Our focus then turns to studies that have examined PTSD in the context of comorbid psychiatric disorders or associated social and behavioral stressors. We examine the epigenetic variation in cases or models of PTSD with comorbid depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders. We reviewed the literature that has explored epigenetic regulation in PTSD in adverse childhood experiences and suicide phenotypes. Finally, we review some of the information available from studies of the transgenerational transmission of epigenetic variation in maternal cases of PTSD. We discuss areas pertinent for future study to further elucidate the complex interactions between epigenetic modifications and this complex psychiatric disorder. View Full-Text
Keywords: epigenetic; post-traumatic stress disorder; psychiatric disorders epigenetic; post-traumatic stress disorder; psychiatric disorders
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Blacker, C.J.; Frye, M.A.; Morava, E.; Kozicz, T.; Veldic, M. A Review of Epigenetics of PTSD in Comorbid Psychiatric Conditions. Genes 2019, 10, 140.

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