Translocator protein 18 kDa: a potential therapeutic biomarker for post traumatic stress disorder

Metab Brain Dis. 2020 Jun;35(5):695-707. doi: 10.1007/s11011-020-00548-9. Epub 2020 Mar 14.


Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is widely regarded as a stress-related and trauma disorder. The symptoms of PTSD are characterized as a spectrum of vulnerabilities after the exposure to an extremely traumatic stressor. Considering as one of complex mental disorders, little progress has been made toward its diagnostic biomarkers, despite the involvement of PTSD has been studied. Many studies into the underlying neurobiology of PTSD implicated the dysfunction of neurosteroids biosynthesis and neuorinflammatory processes. Translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) has been considered as one of the promising therapeutic biomarkers for neurological stress disorders (like PTSD, depression, anxiety, et al) without the benzodiazepine-like side effects. This protein participates in the formation of neurosteroids and modulation of neuroinflammation. The review outlines current knowledge involving the role of TSPO in the neuropathology of PTSD and the anti-PTSD-like effects of TSPO ligands.

Keywords: Inflammation; Neurosteroid; PTSD; TSPO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, GABA / drug effects*
  • Receptors, GABA / genetics*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / genetics*


  • Biomarkers
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, GABA
  • TSPO protein, human