Neurology Central

Epigenetic regulation of the immune system in PTSD

Evidence of epigenetic regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interferon gamma (IFNG) has been observed in cells taken from patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Genome-wide histone and DNA methylation was examined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by researchers from the University of South Carolina (SC, USA). Significant differences were observed in histone H3 trimethylation at several sites, in addition to differential methylation of promoters of genes related to inflammation. PTSD patients demonstrated higher transcript levels of IFNG and increased IL-12 expression, which could have been activated by epigenetic modification. A microarray study of miRNAs identified downregulation of a number of miRNAs predicted to target IFNG and IL-12.

“Increasing evidence indicates that immune function is one of the dysregulated functions in PTSD patients,” the authors wrote, adding “many of the downregulated miRNAs are predicted to directly target IL-12, suggesting that the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine will be further increased.” It is hoped these findings may be used as biomarkers to inform diagnosis, in addition to leading to new strategies to treat PTSD and related clinical disorders.

Originally posted on GenomicsNet