Aim: We investigated serum DNA methylation patterns in genomic repetitive elements, LINE-1 and Alu, for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases and controls who were US military service members recently deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. Methods: Cases (n = 75) had a postdeployment diagnosis of PTSD. Controls (n = 75) were randomly selected service members with no postdeployment PTSD diagnosis. Pre- and post-deployment sera were accessed, DNA was extracted and DNA methylation (percentage 5-methyl cytosine) was quantified via pyrosequencing. Conditional and unconditional logistic regressions were used to compare: cases post- to pre-deployment; controls post- to pre-deployment; cases to controls predeployment; cases to controls postdeployment. Results: LINE-1 was hypermethylated in controls post- versus pre-deployment (odds ratio [OR]: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.06-1.65) and hypomethylated in cases versus controls postdeployment (OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67-1.01). Alu was hypermethylated for cases versus controls predeployment (OR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.08-1.97). Conclusion: Patterns of hypermethylation of LINE-1 in controls postdeployment and of Alu in cases postdeployment are intriguing and may suggest resilience or vulnerability factors.
- DNA methylation
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- repetitive element