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PTSD Systems Biology Consortium researchers led by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research scientists have identified distinct PTSD biotypes, which are the first of their kind for psychological disorders. The biotypes can refine screening tools development and could offer insight into the varying PTSD treatments’ efficacy according to Consortium lead and WRAIR chief scientist Marti Jett.

Researchers identify two different PTSD biotypes

The scientists published their study in the Molecular Psychiatry journal in a manuscript authored by WRAIR’s Dr. Ruoting Yang. Notably, the researchers used blood tests from combat-exposed male veterans across three years to identify two PTSD biotypes. The biotypes are G1 which is characterized by inherent, mild co-morbidities common in PTSD, and The G2 biotype which includes severe PTSD with more physical distress. The two biotypes differ in genetic markers as well as underlying disease mechanisms. The researchers built on previous work published using machine learning with findings expanded and validated with two more veteran cohorts and an active duty cohort.

For a long, PTSD diagnosis has been complicated due to dependence on self-reporting of symptoms especially the underreporting distress signs because of perceived stigma. Dr, Charles Marmar, University of New York Langone Health’s Psychiatry Department indicated that the findings of the study could help overcome the diagnosis gap through the use of data linking physiological and molecular measures with PTSD biotype as a distress screening to prevent chronic PTSD.

Studies on PTSD medication limited in efficacy

Also, only one PTSD medication currently has FDA-approval for veterans and it is around 50% effective with clinical studies for other medications limited in efficacy.  McLean Hospital chief scientific officer and consortium member, Dr. Kerry Ressler said that the data sets the stage for linking medication to certain biotypes thus offering a blueprint for tailored therapeutics and enhanced patient outcomes.

PTSD Systems biology Consortium researchers are planning to continue research to identify and also validate PTSD biotypes to enable the development of better screening tools that include a test to biotype military p[personnel with PTSD signs.