The Root Cause of Post Traumatic and Development Stress Disorders
Annual rept. 12 Sep 2011-11 Sep 2012
TEXAS A AND M UNIV COLLEGE STATION HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER
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Our overarching scientific hypothesis holds that serotonergic influences on brain development driven by genetics and early experience induce a variation of normal brain anatomy that makes the brain highly susceptible to the effects of severe stress. We are studying this question using both clinical and basic approaches. New findings from our lab funded by VA support the existence of an anatomical phenotype conferring susceptibility to depression, and the current work seeks to extend these findings to PTSD. After TATRC review in January of 2011, a revised research plan was developed to include a prepost-deployment study at Fort Hood and anatomical studies of PTSD in collaboration with NIMH, Yale and USUHS. Based on input from contracting relating to the maturation date of funds, the budget and revised proposal was resubmitted in December and the funds were released for use in June, 2012. Post-mortem brain tissue from 9 brains have been sent to NIMH for a gene expressiontranscriptome study to investigate gene expression. This tissue has been combined with 6 PTSD brains from the NIMH Clinical Brain Disorder Branch whose clinical diagnosis are being verified as consistent with our diagnostic methods. Golgi methods for analysis of prefrontal anatomy have been developed at Yale and pilot studies are being completed to finalize methods. A second study of a subset of the PTSD brains indicates substantial DNA hypermethylation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex. Eight new Fort Hood staff are being trained to employ the SCID and Columbia suicide interviews and will be certified starting this month.
- Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medicine and Medical Research