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Approved research

Genome-wide association study for the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) for PTSD

Principal Investigator: Dr Caroline Nievergelt
Approved Research ID: 41209
Approval date: February 20th 2019

Lay summary

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a commonly occurring mental health consequence of exposure to extreme, life threatening stress. PTSD is also frequently associated with the occurrence of other mental disorders such as major depression and with other adverse health sequelae including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Given its prevalence and its impact, PTSD is a serious public health problem. Understanding the biological bases of risk for PTSD is therefore an important goal of research ultimately aimed at prevention and mitigation. Up to 70% of the variance determining who develops PTSD following a severe trauma may be genetic. Most successful analyses to date suggest that risk arises from multiple common genetic variants of small effect size, and therefore, very large sample sizes will be needed for detection. This proposal aims to uncover the genomic architecture of PTSD through large-scale, collaborative genome-wide association studies. The Psychiatric Genomic Consortium (PGC) PTSD group has already collected data from over 60 studies and has the goal to increase its data collection over the next few years to perform well-powered meta-analyses of PTSD GWAS and discover robust genetic signals. Identifying the pathways underlying PTSD will lead to an improved neurobiological understanding, enhanced prevention, and improved treatment of this debilitating and prevalent syndrome.