Implementation and clinical characteristics of a posttraumatic stress disorder brain collection

Michelle I. Mighdoll, Amy Deep-Soboslay, Rahul A. Bharadwaj, John A. Cotoia, David M. Benedek, Thomas M. Hyde, Joel E. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A postmortem human brain collection to study posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is critical for uncovering the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this psychiatric disorder. We describe here the PTSD brain collection at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore, Maryland, consisting of postmortem brain donations acquired between 2012 and 2017. Thus far, 87 brains from individuals meeting DSM-5 criteria for PTSD were collected after consent was obtained from legal next-of-kin, and subsequently clinically characterized for molecular studies. PTSD brain donors had high rates of comorbid diagnoses, including depression (62.1%), substance abuse (74.7%), drug-related death (69.0%), and suicide completion (17.2%). PTSD cases were subdivided into two categories: combat-related PTSD (n = 24) and noncombat/domestic PTSD (n = 63). The major differences between the combat-related and domestic PTSD cohorts were sex, drug-related death, and the prevalence of bipolar disorder (BPD) comorbidity. The combat-related group was entirely male, with only one BPD subject (4.2%), and had significantly fewer drug-related deaths (45.8%) in contrast to the domestic group (31.8% male, 36.5% bipolar, and 77.8% drug-related deaths). Medical examiners' offices, particularly in areas with higher military populations, are an excellent source for PTSD brain donations of both combat-related and domestic PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neuroscience research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • BPD–bipolar disorder
  • MDD–major depressive disorder
  • PTSD
  • combat PTSD
  • domestic PTSD
  • postmortem human brain collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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