Fear factor: A new candidate for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder genetic

Jun 20, 2016 | | Say something

Fear factor: A new candidate for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder genetic ;

Credit: George Hodan / public domain

Researchers at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have identified a new gene candidate to test therapies that could affect learning in individuals with PTSD or other conditions fear. The study results have been published in Journal of Neuroscience.

Individuals with trauma and stress-related disorders may manifest symptoms of these conditions in a variety of ways. genetic risk factors for these and other psychiatric disorders have been established, but do not explain the diversity of symptoms seen in clinical -? Why some individuals more severely affected than others and why some respond better than others to the same treatment

“People often experience stress and anxiety symptoms , however, do not usually manifest themselves in so far as it gives rise to a clinical diagnosis,” says Allison T. Knoll , PhD, post-doctoral member at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s hospital Los Angeles. “We thought that if we could understand the differences in the severity of symptoms in a typical population, which could provide clues about the clinical heterogeneity in patients.”

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The strategy was simple. Instead of focusing on a single identified gene for a given condition, the team at CHLA tried a different approach to discover genes that may influence the severity of symptoms. Using a mouse model based on the population, who studied the normal variation in how well the mice detects threats and fears. mice are well characterized for learning behavior were used, and also exhibit a wide range of “high” and “low” anxiety, modeling the range found in humans. The researchers tested to see how well the mice learned to detect threats, a form of fear of knowing that all human beings and animals. When this learning is exaggerated in children or adults, symptoms of PTSD and anxiety are expressed.

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“By understanding the biological origins of individual differences in behavior – in this case a measure of anxiety – which may go beyond a single disorder diagnosis and treatment of dimensions that produce behavior that covers a multitude of diagnoses, “Knoll


Using genetic tools, researchers found a number of candidates that could influence the learning of fear, and finally reduced to a single gene, HCN1 genes. The researchers were able to show the impact of HCN1 fear learning gene by interfering with the function of this gene to the challenge of learning further. They found that mice do not learn fear. Even when the researchers disrupted the function of genes after the mice learned fear, mice were not able to express it.

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“We are suggesting that rather than focusing solely on the genes that are believed to cause a disorder – for example, post traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorder – what is important to discover the genes that can have a profound effect on the severity of an individual is affected by his illness, “said Pat Levitt, PhD, principal investigator of the study, and the President Simms / Mann developing Neurogenetics at CHLA. Levitt is also rector Professor of Pediatrics, Neurosciences, Psychiatry and Pharmacy at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

This article was originally published on medicalxpress, Read the original article

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