White S, Acierno R, Ruggiero KJ, Koenen KC, Kilpatrick DG, Galea S, Gelernter J, Williamson V, McMichael O, Vladimirov VI, Amstadter AB
J Anxiety Disord 2013 Oct;27(7):678-83
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a moderately heritable anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to trauma. However, only few genetic variants that relate to PTSD have been studied. This study examined the relationship between 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 gene (CRHR1) and post-disaster PTSD symptoms and diagnosis in adults exposed to 2004 Florida hurricanes. CRHR1 regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; dysregulation of the HPA axis is characteristic of stress phenotypes. Final analyses were conducted in the European-American (EA) subsample (n=564) due to population stratification. After correction for multiple testing, rs12938031 and rs4792887 remained associated with post-hurricane PTSD symptoms. Additionally, rs12938031 was associated with post-hurricane diagnosis of PTSD. This study is the first to examine CRHR1 in relation to PTSD in adults, and provides evidence for the importance of CRHR1 variation in the etiology of PTSD. Although results are preliminary and require replication, they justify follow-up efforts to characterize how this gene relates to PTSD.