Methylation of the AIM2 gene: A common biomarker for PTSD-related inflammation and neuropathology
#ADAA2022 Donald F. Klein Awardee Research Presentation
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated levels of inflammation, which may help to explain the link between PTSD and chronic disease. The Absent in Melanoma 2 (AIM2) gene has been implicated in mechanisms of inflammation and anxiety, and methylation at a particular locus in this gene (cg10636246) has previously been shown to influence the association between PTSD and elevated C‐reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) levels in blood. This webinar presents an overview of the associations between PTSD, inflammation, and chronic disease and describes research testing whether prior work implicating AIM2 methylation in PTSD-related inflammation extends to other blood-based biomarkers of inflammation and to neuropathology. Peripheral markers of inflammation and neuropathology were measured using ultra‐sensitive Single Molecule Array (Simoa®) technology, which precisely measures analytes at extremely low concentrations, thereby increasing the ability to detect disease risk prior to any symptom onset. The research presented in this webinar suggests that AIM2 methylation is a mechanism through which PTSD is associated with both inflammation and neuropathology. Clinical implications are discussed, supporting the use of AIM2 methylation as a cost‐effective clinical target that singularly captures multiple biological markers associated with trauma-related risk and resilience towards inflammatory and neuropathological conditions and for informing early intervention when disease trajectories may be reversible.