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Traumatic stress, oxidative stress and post-traumatic stress disorder: neurodegeneration and the accelerated-aging hypothesis

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated risk for a variety of age-related diseases and neurodegeneration. In this paper, we review evidence relevant to the hypothesis that chronic PTSD constitutes a form of persistent life stress that potentiates oxidative stress (OXS) and accelerates cellular aging. We provide an overview of empirical studies that have examined the effects of psychological stress on OXS, discuss the stress-perpetuating characteristics of PTSD, and then identify mechanisms by which PTSD might promote OXS and accelerated aging. We review studies on OXS-related genes and the role that they may have in moderating the effects of PTSD on neural integrity and conclude with a discussion of directions for future research on antioxidant treatments and biomarkers of accelerated aging in PTSD.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Institute on Mental Health award R21MH102834 and a Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Review Grant (1I01BX002150-01) awarded to MWM.

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Correspondence to M W Miller.

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Miller, M., Sadeh, N. Traumatic stress, oxidative stress and post-traumatic stress disorder: neurodegeneration and the accelerated-aging hypothesis. Mol Psychiatry 19, 1156–1162 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2014.111

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