The association between post-traumatic stress disorder and shorter telomere length: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Affect Disord. 2017 Aug 15;218:322-326. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.03.048. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

Abstract

Objective: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychiatric disorder, which may accelerate aging. Many study have investigated the association between telomeres length and PTSD, but results from published studies are contradictory. Therefore, Meta-analysis approaches were conducted to give more precise estimate of relationship between telomere length and PTSD.

Method: We systematically reviewed the databases of PUBMED, PsycINFO, Medline(Ovid SP) and EMBASE for all articles on the association between telomere length and PTSD. Data were summarized by using random-effects in the meta-analysis. The heterogeneity among studies were examined by using Cochrane's Q statistic and I-squared.

Results: Five eligible studies containing 3851 participants were included in our meta-analysis. Shorten telomere length was significantly associated with PTSD with mean difference of -0.19( 95% CI: -0.27, -0.01; P<0.001) with I-square of 96%. The results from subgroup analysis demonstrated that shorter telomere length was significantly associated with PTSD across all gender groups, with mean difference of -0.15( 95% CI: -0.29, -0.01; P=0.04) for female, mean difference of -0.17( 95% CI: -0.19, -0.15; P<0.001) for male. Meanwhile, shorten telomere length was significantly associated with sexual assault(mean difference =-0.15, 95% CI: -0.29, -0.01), childhood trauma (mean difference =-0.08, 95% CI: -0.19, -0.07), but not combat (mean difference =-0.39, 95% CI: -0.83, 0.05).

Conclusion: Compared to the individuals without PTSD, individuals with PTSD have shorter telomere length, which has implications for early intervention and timely treatment to prevent future adverse health outcomes.

Keywords: Aging; PTSD; Telomere.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / genetics*
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • Telomere Shortening*