An enzyme called pituitary adenylate cyclase–activating polypeptide (PACAP) may play a role in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women but not men, according to new research from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, the University of Vermont in Burlington, and other institutions (Ressler KJ et al. Nature. 2011;470:492-497).
PACAP and its receptor (PAC1) are known to regulate the response of cells to stress. To assess whether these proteins are associated with PTSD, investigators analyzed blood levels of PACAP as well as variation and modification of the genes encoding PACAP and PAC1 in a cohort of more than 1200 highly traumatized individuals with and without PTSD.
Hampton T. PTSD Enzyme. JAMA. 2011;305(13):1290. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.388