Current Psychiatry Reports

, 19:75 | Cite as

Traumatic Stress and Accelerated Cellular Aging: From Epigenetics to Cardiometabolic Disease

  • Erika J. WolfEmail author
  • Filomene G. Morrison
Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders (MJ Friedman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders


Purpose of Review

The aim of this paper is to review the recent literature on traumatic stress-related accelerated aging, including a focus on cellular mechanisms and biomarkers of cellular aging and on the clinical manifestations of accelerated biological aging.

Recent Findings

Multiple lines of research converge to suggest that PTSD is associated with accelerated aging in the epigenome, and the immune and inflammation systems, and this may be reflected in premature onset of cardiometabolic and cardiovascular disease.


The current state of research paves the way for future work focused on identifying the peripheral and central biological mechanisms linking traumatic stress to accelerated biological aging and medical morbidity, with an emphasis on processes involved in inflammation, immune functioning, oxidative stress, autonomic arousal, and stress response. Ultimately, such work could help reduce the pace of biological aging and improve health and wellness.


Traumatic stress PTSD Accelerated aging Epigenetic clock Inflamm-aging Immunosenescence 



This work was supported in part by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health award R03AG051877 to EJW and by Merit Review Award Number I01 CX-001276-01 to EJW from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinical Sciences Research and Development (CSRD) Service. This work was also supported by a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE 2013A) to EJW as administered by the US Department of VA Office of Research and Development.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Erika J. Wolf reports grants from NIA(NIH) (R03AG051877), VA CSR&D Merit Award (I01 CX-001276-01), and PECASE via VA ORD (PECASE 2013A).

Filomene G. Morrison declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for PTSDVA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA

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