DNA methylation GrimAge acceleration in US military veterans with PTSD. Academic Article uri icon


  • Epigenetic alterations in DNA methylation might mediate gene expression effects of trauma underlying PTSD symptoms, or effects of PTSD on related health problems. PTSD is associated with all-cause morbidity and premature mortality, suggesting accelerated biological aging. We measured genome-wide DNA methylation (Illumina MethylationEPIC BeadChip) in whole blood in a treatment study for combat-related PTSD - "PROGrESS", a multisite RCT comparing sertraline plus enhanced medication management (SERT+EMM), prolonged exposure (PE) therapy plus placebo (PE+PLB), and the combination (SERT+PE). DNA methylation was measured in 140 US military veterans who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan (112 current PTSD cases enrolled in a PTSD treatment study and 28 veterans without PTSD history controls), and also 59 non-trauma exposed controls at baseline posttreatment (24 weeks after baseline). Increased DNA methylation GrimAge acceleration (p=8.8e-09) was observed in patients with PTSD compared to a pooled control group (trauma exposed and non-trauma exposed), suggesting a higher risk of premature mortality in those with PTSD. There was no difference in GrimAge acceleration between combat trauma and non-trauma exposed controls. No treatment-related changes in GrimAge acceleration were found in within-subject comparisons of PTSD patients pre- to post-treatment.

published proceedings

  • Neuropsychopharmacology

altmetric score

  • 4.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Katrinli, S., King, A. P., Duval, E. R., Smith, A. K., Rajaram, N., Liberzon, I., & Rauch, S.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • April 2023