Neuroendocrine and immune biomarkers of posttraumatic stress disorder in combat veterans

Authored by: Nela Pivac , Marcela Konjevod , Marina Sagud , Suzana Uzun , Oliver Kozumplik

The Routledge International Handbook of Military Psychology and Mental Health

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367237066
eBook ISBN: 9780429281266
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder whose development is closely related to the experience of a devastating traumatic event or events. Among different biological systems that are disturbed in PTSD, neuroendocrine and immune systems are the most affected. Biomarkers are objective indicators of medical state which can be determined in easy available body fluids and measured accurately and reproducibly. Combat-related PTSD is often associated with psychiatric and somatic comorbidities. Within somatic complications, cardiovascular diseases are the most frequent. Cardiometabolic disorders in PTSD are related to sympathetic over-activation; chronic peripheral, low-grade inflammation and altered HPA axis responses. Dysregulated HPA axis in PTSD is associated with blunted cortisol secretion; low glucocorticoid signalling; impaired negative feedback, leading to the allostatic load and overreactions to moderate stressful stimuli. Review of the biomarkers of the immune system in PTSD and PTSD comorbid with cardiometabolic disorders revealed immunological imbalance and low grade pro-inflammatory state in PTSD, with increased plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Since PTSD is a complex and polygenic disorder, associated with different comorbid disorders, impaired stress response and altered immune systems might only describe part of the potential patho-mechanisms underlying PTSD.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.