Chapter 10 - PTSD and physiology: The long-term effects of PTSD and relation to epigenetics, physical health, and chronic diseases

Elsevier, Epigenetics of Stress and Stress Disorders, Volume 31 in Translational Epigenetics, 2022, Pages 137-162
Kristina Reed BA, Shiloh Cleveland BA, JordanThomas MA, Aileen Hsu BS, Annie Jeong BA, Jessica Nguyen BS, Aarti Patel BA, Sheila Zhang BS ,Jennifer A.Sumner PhD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to a host of negative consequences for both emotional and physical health. In this chapter, we review the literature on the epigenetics of PTSD and interpret findings through the lens of understanding the implications for adverse physical health outcomes. We evaluate the results of epigenome-wide association studies of PTSD and examine the physiological systems implicated by top hits. In addition, we review how the literature on PTSD and epigenetic aging—a DNA methylation-based aging metric—may shed light on processes of accelerated aging at the cellular level after trauma. Finally, we discuss future directions for the field as it continues to incorporate epigenetic information into research on PTSD and physical health. Understanding the epigenetic changes associated with PTSD has implications for assessment, prevention, and treatment of both posttraumatic psychopathology and the physical health of afflicted individuals.