Agilent Helps Researchers Study Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that may develop after a person experiences a traumatic event.  Hyper arousal (a “fight-or-flight” response) is a normal reaction to danger, but PTSD victims continue to feel stress even when they are no longer in danger.  Other symptoms include recurring flashbacks or uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

U.S. experts estimate that 10 percent of women and 4 percent of men will have PTSD some time in their life.  Currently, one in three U.S. troops returning from deployment is being diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD.

Researchers are increasingly studying the biomolecular aspects of PTSD, including changes to genes and brain areas that may either cause or result from the condition.

An international team of scientists recently completed the first metabolite profiling study in PTSD.  They assessed a wide range of metabolites that might serve as biological markers underlying the disorder.

The team discovered 13 metabolites that displayed significant alterations in association with PTSD.  These metabolites are involved in biological processes such as neuro-inflammation, auto-immune reactions, oxidative stress, energy metabolism and biological aging.  This supports a link between PTSD and a higher risk of adverse health consequences.

A biomarker panel of 19 metabolites was able to classify PTSD with 85 percent accuracy. A single glycerophospholipid by itself was able to classify PTSD with 82 percent accuracy.  Overall, the study illustrates the feasibility and utility of metabolite profiling for PTSD.

The researchers used Agilent technologies for their study, including an Agilent LC, QTOF mass spec, Poroshell columns, MassHunter and Mass Profiler software.

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