Certain individuals are more susceptible to stress and trauma, as well as the physical and mental health consequences following such exposure, including risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This differing vulnerability is likely to be influenced by genetic predisposition and specific characteristics of the stress itself (nature, intensity and duration), as well as epigenetic mechanisms. In this review we provide an overview of research findings in this field. We highlight some of the key genetic risk factors identified for PTSD, and the evidence that epigenetic processes might play a role in the biological response to trauma, as well as being potential biomarkers of PTSD risk. We also discuss important considerations for future research in this area.
- DNA methylation
- early life
- post-traumatic stress disorder