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The risk of posttraumatic stress disorder after trauma depends on traumatic load and the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val(158)Met polymorphism


Kolassa, I T; Kolassa, S; Ertl, V; Papassotiropoulos, A; de Quervain, D J F (2010). The risk of posttraumatic stress disorder after trauma depends on traumatic load and the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val(158)Met polymorphism. Biological Psychiatry, 67(4):304-308.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) depends on the number of traumatic event types experienced in a dose-response relationship, but genetic factors are known to also influence the risk of PTSD. The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism has been found to affect fear extinction and might play a role in the etiology of anxiety disorders. METHODS: Traumatic load and lifetime and current diagnosis of PTSD and COMT genotype were assessed in a sample of 424 survivors of the Rwandan Genocide living in the Nakivale refugee camp in southwestern Uganda. RESULTS: Higher numbers of different lifetime traumatic event types led to a higher prevalence of lifetime PTSD in a dose-response relationship. However, this effect was modulated by the COMT genotype: whereas Val allele carriers showed the typical dose-response relationship, Met/Met homozygotes exhibited a high risk for PTSD independently of the severity of traumatic load. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate a gene-environment interaction between the human COMT Val158Met polymorphism and the number of traumatic event types experienced in the risk of developing PTSD.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) depends on the number of traumatic event types experienced in a dose-response relationship, but genetic factors are known to also influence the risk of PTSD. The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism has been found to affect fear extinction and might play a role in the etiology of anxiety disorders. METHODS: Traumatic load and lifetime and current diagnosis of PTSD and COMT genotype were assessed in a sample of 424 survivors of the Rwandan Genocide living in the Nakivale refugee camp in southwestern Uganda. RESULTS: Higher numbers of different lifetime traumatic event types led to a higher prevalence of lifetime PTSD in a dose-response relationship. However, this effect was modulated by the COMT genotype: whereas Val allele carriers showed the typical dose-response relationship, Met/Met homozygotes exhibited a high risk for PTSD independently of the severity of traumatic load. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate a gene-environment interaction between the human COMT Val158Met polymorphism and the number of traumatic event types experienced in the risk of developing PTSD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:15 February 2010
Deposited On:05 Jan 2010 15:54
Last Modified:28 Aug 2016 06:59
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-3223
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.10.009
PubMed ID:19944409

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