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      Dysregulated immune system networks in war veterans with PTSD is an outcome of altered miRNA expression and DNA methylation


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          Post-traumatic stress disorder patients experience chronic systemic inflammation. However, the molecular pathways involved and mechanisms regulating the expression of genes involved in inflammatory pathways in PTSD are reported inadequately. Through RNA sequencing and miRNA microarray, we identified 326 genes and 190 miRNAs that were significantly different in their expression levels in the PBMCs of PTSD patients. Expression pairing of the differentially expressed genes and miRNAs indicated an inverse relationship in their expression. Functional analysis of the differentially expressed genes indicated their involvement in the canonical pathways specific to immune system biology. DNA methylation analysis of differentially expressed genes also showed a gradual trend towards differences between control and PTSD patients, again indicating a possible role of this epigenetic mechanism in PTSD inflammation. Overall, combining data from the three techniques provided a holistic view of several pathways in which the differentially expressed genes were impacted through epigenetic mechanisms, in PTSD. Thus, analysis combining data from RNA-Seq, miRNA array and DNA methylation, can provide key evidence about dysregulated pathways and the controlling mechanism in PTSD. Most importantly, the present study provides further evidence that inflammation in PTSD could be epigenetically regulated.

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          Most cited references35

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            T helper 17 (Th17) cells belong to a recently identified T helper subset, in addition to the traditional Th1 and Th2 subsets. These cells are characterized as preferential producers of interleukin-17A (IL-17A), IL-17F, IL-21, and IL-22. Th17 cells and their effector cytokines mediate host defensive mechanisms to various infections, especially extracellular bacteria infections, and are involved in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. The receptors for IL-17 and IL-22 are broadly expressed on various epithelial tissues. The effector cytokines of Th17 cells, therefore, mediate the crucial crosstalk between immune system and tissues, and play indispensable roles in tissue immunity.
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              The development of a Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.

              Several interviews are available for assessing PTSD. These interviews vary in merit when compared on stringent psychometric and utility standards. Of all the interviews, the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-1) appears to satisfy these standards most uniformly. The CAPS-1 is a structured interview for assessing core and associated symptoms of PTSD. It assesses the frequency and intensity of each symptom using standard prompt questions and explicit, behaviorally-anchored rating scales. The CAPS-1 yields both continuous and dichotomous scores for current and lifetime PTSD symptoms. Intended for use by experienced clinicians, it also can be administered by appropriately trained paraprofessionals. Data from a large scale psychometric study of the CAPS-1 have provided impressive evidence of its reliability and validity as a PTSD interview.

                Author and article information

                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                11 August 2016
                : 6
                : 31209
                [1 ]Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine , Columbia, SC 29209, USA
                [2 ]William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center , 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia, 29209-1639, South Carolina, USA
                [3 ]Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina , Columbia, SC 29206, USA
                Author notes

                These authors contributed equally to this work.


                Present Address: Institute for Tumor Immunology, Ludong University School of Life Sciences, Yantai, Shandong 264025, P.R. China.

                Copyright © 2016, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                : 09 March 2016
                : 12 July 2016



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