Epigenetic Age Acceleration and Risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder following Exposure to Substantiated Child Maltreatment

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State

Researchers examined whether epigenetic age acceleration, a stress-sensitive biomarker derived from DNA methylation, explains variation in PTSD diagnostic status subsequent to child maltreatment. Participants provided epithelial cheek cells via buccal swab for genotyping and quantification of epigenetic age acceleration within a case-control design. PTSD diagnostic status was determined using the Child PTSD Symptoms Scale according to the DSM-IV-TR algorithm. In conclusion, the biological embedding of child maltreatment may explain variation in PTSD diagnostic status and serve as a novel approach for informing selective prevention or precision-based therapeutics for those at risk for PTSD.

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