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The past few years have seen an increase in the clinical awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one of the most disabling and least understood behavioral disorders. Although the biological bases of PTSD are poorly understood, fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) activity has been linked with arousability and aversive-memories extinction, that is, two key features of PTSD. In this study, we investigated the association between the FAAH genetic polymorphisms and PTSD development and maintenance. We assessed PTSD frequency in a group of male Vietnam war veterans who suffered combat-related penetrating traumatic brain injury, that is, a relatively homogeneous population regarding the nature of the events that led to PTSD. We showed that rs2295633, a single-nucleotide polymorphism of FAAH, was significantly associated with PTSD diagnosis in subjects without lesions in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Moreover, the presence of the C allele was associated with more severe re-experiencing of trauma and more negative reported childhood experiences. In conclusion, our data suggest that FAAH has an important role in PTSD through modulation of aversive memories and point to both a novel therapeutic target and a possible risk marker for this condition.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/tp.2012.1

Type

Journal article

Journal

Transl Psychiatry

Publication Date

31/01/2012

Volume

2

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Alleles, Amidohydrolases, Child, Child Abuse, Combat Disorders, Cross-Sectional Studies, Defense Mechanisms, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Head Injuries, Penetrating, Humans, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Life Change Events, Male, Mental Recall, Middle Aged, Polymorphism, Genetic, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prefrontal Cortex, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Veterans, Vietnam Conflict