Get access

APOLIPOPROTEIN E GENE POLYMORPHISM, ALCOHOL USE, AND THEIR INTERACTIONS IN COMBAT-RELATED POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Authors

  • Tae Yong Kim M.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hae Gyung Chung M.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Han-Sang Shin M.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Se Joo Kim M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    2. Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jin Hee Choi M.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Moon Yong Chung M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Suk Kyoon An M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    2. Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tai Kiu Choi M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Bundang CHA Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hyoung Seok So M.D.,

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Veterans Health Service Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hyun-Sang Cho M.D., Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    2. Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    • Correspondence to: Hyun-Sang Cho, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, 696-6 Tanbeol-dong, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do 464-100, Republic of Korea.

      E-mail: chs0225@yuhs.ac

    Search for more papers by this author

  • Contract grant sponsor: Korea Institute of Medicine; Contract grant number: 2009–714.

Abstract

Background

The symptomatology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is related not only to the intensity of the causative trauma, but also to alcohol use and genetic factors. Among the many candidate genes, the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) is thought to be associated with stress reactivity.

Methods

Korean veterans of the Vietnam War with (n = 128) or without (n = 128) PTSD participated in this study. The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale and Combat Exposure Scale were administered, and the severity of alcohol use was assessed among these veterans. The APOE polymorphism and clinical variables of the subjects were compared, and associations between PTSD and potential explanatory variables were tested using logistic regression analysis.

Results

Higher frequencies of APOE ε2 alleles and a greater number of individuals with the ε2 allele were found in the PTSD group. Among patients with PTSD, ε2-allele noncarriers consumed alcohol in greater amounts and more frequently than did ε2-allele carriers. Regression analysis revealed a significant interactional effect between harmful drinking and the absence of the ε2 allele associated with PTSD risk.

Conclusions

These results suggest that the APOE ε2 allele operates as a susceptibility gene for combat-related PTSD, with the relationship between alcohol use and PTSD differing according to the ε2-allele status. Future studies should determine the role of the APOE in adaptation to extreme stress, the development of PTSD, and comorbid alcohol-related disorders.

Ancillary