POSTRES: Characterization of Acute Stress Responses in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Internally funded project


Project Details

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Nicolas Rohleder
Prof. Dr. med. Yesim Erim


Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Gesundheitspsychologie
Professur für Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie

Start date: 01/01/2017


Research Fields

Traumatic Stress and Health
Lehrstuhl für Gesundheitspsychologie


Abstract (technical / expert description):


Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with an altered psychological and physiological stress reaction defined by (1) flat cortisol rhythms, (2) low cortisol throughout the day, (3) altered amylase rhythms, (4) increased catecholamine secretion, (5) increased inflammation despite higher GC sensitivity in vitro (pointing to insufficient compensatory upregulation of glucocorticoid sensitivity-receptive intracellular mechanisms) and finally (6) an altered intra-cellular mechanism of inflammation. These biological changes are correlated with psychological symptoms in PTSD and related with changes of the Central Nervous System (CNS) in PTSD. However, while psychiatric / psychological symptoms of PTSD can be treated somewhat successfully, it is currently not well understood how well successful treatment of psychiatric symptoms can also lead to recovery of biological alterations. Thus, the aim of our work is to investigate the acute physiological stress reaction of PTSD patients towards a stressor in a cross-sectional desgin and compare it with a parallelized healthy control group. Both groups are requested to take part in the Trier-Social-Stress-Test (TSST) and before and afterwards to donate multiple samplers of serum, plasma blood and saliva and fill out some questionnaires about their symptoms. They are agian asked to fill out the same questionnäires and donate one samle of plasma and serum blood seven weeks later. With this study we hope to be able to drive conclusions about specifics of the stress reaction of PTSD patients, especially regarding inflammation procceses, and effects of the stress reaction on the hypothalamic -pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). We furthermore hope to find reliable parameters for the prediction of therapy succes of PTSD while a standardized eight-week long hospitalization in a day care hospital.


Last updated on 2019-28-05 at 09:25

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