MicroRNAs in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Clara Snijders
  • Laurence de Nijs
  • Dewleen G. Baker
  • Richard L. Hauger
  • Daniel van den Hove
  • Gunter Kenis
  • Caroline M. Nievergelt
  • Marco P. Boks
  • Eric Vermetten
  • Fred H. Gage
  • Bart P. F. RuttenEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 38)


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can develop following exposure to or witnessing of a (potentially) threatening event. A critical issue is to pinpoint the (neuro)biological mechanisms underlying the susceptibility to stress-related disorder such as PTSD, which develops in the minority of ~15% of individuals exposed to trauma. Over the last few years, a first wave of epigenetic studies has been performed in an attempt to identify the molecular underpinnings of the long-lasting behavioral and mental effects of trauma exposure. The potential roles of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) such as microRNAs (miRNAs) in moderating or mediating the impact of severe stress and trauma are increasingly gaining attention. To date, most studies focusing on the roles of miRNAs in PTSD have, however, been completed in animals, using cross-sectional study designs and focusing almost exclusively on subjects with susceptible phenotypes. Therefore, there is a strong need for new research comprising translational and cross-species approaches that use longitudinal designs for studying trajectories of change contrasting susceptible and resilient subjects. The present review offers a comprehensive overview of available studies of miRNAs in PTSD and discusses the current challenges, pitfalls, and future perspectives of this field.


Brain Epigenetics microRNA Post-traumatic stress disorder Review 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clara Snijders
    • 1
  • Laurence de Nijs
    • 1
  • Dewleen G. Baker
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Richard L. Hauger
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Daniel van den Hove
    • 1
    • 5
  • Gunter Kenis
    • 1
  • Caroline M. Nievergelt
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marco P. Boks
    • 6
  • Eric Vermetten
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  • Fred H. Gage
    • 10
  • Bart P. F. Rutten
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, (EURON)MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.VA San Diego Healthcare System, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  5. 5.Laboratory of Translational Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and PsychotherapyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  6. 6.Brain Center Rudolf MagnusUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Military Mental Health Research CenterMinistry of DefenseUtrechtThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Department of PsychiatryLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Arq Psychotrauma Research GroupDiemenThe Netherlands
  10. 10.Laboratory of GeneticsThe Salk Institute for Biological StudiesLa JollaUSA

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