Researchers Identify Biomarkers For PTSD - medtigo



Researchers Identify Biomarkers For PTSD

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

According to a new study and as reported by ASBMB Today, people who are currently afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder or who are at high risk for developing the disorder exhibit distinct patterns in four biomarkers that can be measured with a simple blood test. The findings suggest that these biomarkers could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing PTSD, to diagnose the disorder, and to monitor treatment response.  

After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, PTSD may develop. Currently, PTSD is diagnosed based on symptoms such as flashbacks, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, negative thoughts, memory problems, and avoidance of situations known to trigger the disorder. Due to the similarity of these symptoms to those of other disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose PTSD and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.  

This research, which involved over a thousand service members, is the largest prospective study conducted to date to examine the biological markers of PTSD over time. Stacy-Ann Miller, a researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, stated, “This study provides valuable insights into the natural history of PTSD and the efficacy of interventions, which can inform the development of treatment guidelines and improve the care of PTSD patients.”

“Better methods of predicting or screening for PTSD could aid in overcoming the disorder by identifying those at high risk for developing PTSD and providing them with early intervention or prevention strategies. This could potentially lessen the severity of symptoms or prevent the onset of the disorder.” Miller will present the new findings at Discover BMB, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which will be held in Seattle from March 25 to 28.  

Biomarkers, which reflect biological processes, can provide an objective measurement of physiological changes associated with diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Blood samples from active-duty service members were analyzed for four biomarkers before a 10-month deployment, three days after their return, and three to six months after their return.

Previously, the biomarkers have been linked to stress, depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders. Included were the glycolytic ratio, a measure of how the body breaks down sugar to produce energy; arginine, an amino acid that plays a role in the immune and cardiovascular systems; serotonin, a chemical messenger that regulates mood, sleep, and other functions; and glutamate, a chemical messenger that plays a role in learning and memory. 

The researchers divided service members into groups based on measures of PTSD and mental resilience and then compared the four biomarkers between the groups. PTSD, subthreshold PTSD, or no PTSD was assigned to participants based on their clinical diagnosis and PTSD symptoms.

Researchers categorized the resilience of participants based on a variety of factors, including PTSD, anxiety, sleep quality, alcohol use disorders, combat exposures, traumatic brain injury, and general physical and mental health. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals with low resilience based on these measures are significantly more likely to develop PTSD after deployment than those with high resilience.  

Comparing these biomarkers in individuals with various PTSD statuses and resilience levels revealed that those with PTSD or subthreshold PTSD had a significantly higher glycolytic ratio and lower arginine than those with high resilience. People with PTSD had significantly less serotonin and more glutamate than resilient individuals. These associations existed regardless of gender, age, body mass index, smoking status, and caffeine intake.  

The biomarkers, according to the researchers, could help predict which individuals are at high risk for PTSD, improve the accuracy of PTSD diagnosis, and enhance understanding of the causes and effects of PTSD.  


Miller stated, “Improved methods of screening and predicting PTSD could inform better treatment strategies by providing a deeper understanding of the disorder’s underlying biological mechanisms.” This could lead to the development of more targeted and effective treatments for PTSD, as well as the identification of subtypes of PTSD that may respond differently to treatment.  

Researchers cautioned that additional research and validation would be required to confirm the biomarkers’ usefulness in clinical settings. The research was conducted with the help of the PTSD Systems Biology Consortium, a network of government and academic laboratories.  


Free CME credits

Both our subscription plans include Free CME/CPD AMA PRA Category 1 credits.

Digital Certificate PDF

On course completion, you will receive a full-sized presentation quality digital certificate.

medtigo Simulation

A dynamic medical simulation platform designed to train healthcare professionals and students to effectively run code situations through an immersive hands-on experience in a live, interactive 3D environment.

medtigo Points

medtigo points is our unique point redemption system created to award users for interacting on our site. These points can be redeemed for special discounts on the medtigo marketplace as well as towards the membership cost itself.
  • Registration with medtigo = 10 points
  • 1 visit to medtigo’s website = 1 point
  • Interacting with medtigo posts (through comments/clinical cases etc.) = 5 points
  • Attempting a game = 1 point
  • Community Forum post/reply = 5 points

    *Redemption of points can occur only through the medtigo marketplace, courses, or simulation system. Money will not be credited to your bank account. 10 points = $1.

All Your Certificates in One Place

When you have your licenses, certificates and CMEs in one place, it's easier to track your career growth. You can easily share these with hospitals as well, using your medtigo app.

Our Certificate Courses