Researchers at Indiana University have developed a revolutionary blood test that could help more accurately diagnose and treat those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The research, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, was based on a long term study which followed more than 250 veterans in over 600 visits at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The study attempted to identify a molecule in the blood to track stress intensity.
Over a decade, the researchers evaluated gene expression in participants in both low- and high-.tress states. They narrowed the research down to 285 individual biomarkers related to 269 genes. Over half of the top predictive biomarkers for stress also had prior evidence of involvement in suicide, and the majority of them had evidence in other psychiatric disorders, providing a molecular underpinning for the effects of stress in those disorders. Some of the biomarkers are targets of existing drugs – with potential value as leads for new drug candidates- and have the potential for use in patient stratification and pharmacogenomics approaches.
The study was supported by an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and a VA Merit Award.