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, 3 (11), e27

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Revisiting Adrenergics, Glucocorticoids, Immune System Effects and Homeostasis


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Revisiting Adrenergics, Glucocorticoids, Immune System Effects and Homeostasis

Gerald D Griffin et al. Clin Transl Immunology.


This review focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Several sequelae of PTSD are partially attributed to glucocorticoid-induced neuronal loss in the hippocampus and amygdala. Glucocorticoids and adrenergic agents cause both immediate and late sequelae and are considered from the perspective of their actions on the expression of cytokines as well as some of their physiological and psychological effects. A shift in immune system balance from Th1 to Th2 dominance is thought to result from the actions of both molecular groups. The secretion of glucocorticoids and adrenergic agents is commonly induced by trauma or stress, and synergy between these two parallel but separate pathways can produce long- and short-term sequelae in individuals with PTSD. Potential therapies are suggested, and older therapies that involve the early effects of adrenergics or glucocorticoids are reviewed for their control of acute symptoms. These therapies may also be useful for acute flashback therapy. Timely and more precise glucocorticoid and adrenergic control is recommended for maintaining these molecular groups within acceptable homeostatic limits and thus managing immune and brain sequelae. Psychotherapy should supplement the above therapeutic measures; however, psychotherapy is not the focus of this paper. Instead, this review focuses on the probable molecular basis of PTSD. Integrating historical findings regarding glucocorticoids and adrenergic agents into current research and clinical applications returns the focus to potentially life-changing treatments. Autologous adoptive immune therapy may also offer utility. This paper reports clinical and translational research that connects and challenges separate fields of study, current and classical, in an attempt to better understand and ameliorate the effects of PTSD.

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