IMR Press / JIN / Volume 23 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2304068
Open Access Original Research
Causal Associations between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and COVID-19
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1 School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, Manassas, VA 20110, USA
2 Research Centre for Medical Genetics, 115478 Moscow, Russia
3 Department of Psychiatry, The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
4 Peking University Sixth Hospital/Institute of Mental Health, 100191 Beijing, China
5 NHC Key Laboratory of Mental Health (Peking University), National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders (Peking University Sixth Hospital), 100191 Beijing, China
6 Institute of Neuropsychiatry, The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
*Correspondence: (Fuquan Zhang)
These authors contributed equally.
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2024, 23(4), 68;
Submitted: 7 November 2023 | Revised: 6 December 2023 | Accepted: 19 December 2023 | Published: 1 April 2024
Copyright: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Objective: We aimed to evaluate bidirectional genetic relationships between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and COVID-19. Methods: We investigated potential causal associations between PTSD and two COVID-19 conditions (COVID-19 hospitalization and SARS-CoV-2 infection) via Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses. Three genome-wide association study (GWAS) summary datasets were used in the study, including PTSD (N = 174,659), SARS-CoV-2 infection (N = 2,597,856), and COVID-19 hospitalization (N = 2,095,324). We performed a literature-based analysis to uncover molecular pathways connecting PTSD and COVID-19. Results: We found that PTSD exerts a causal effect on SARS-CoV-2 infection (odds ratio (OR): 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00–1.21, p = 0.048) and hospitalized COVID-19 (OR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.07–1.67, p = 0.001). However, both SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalized COVID-19 were not associated with the risk of PTSD. Pathway analysis revealed that several immunity-related genes may link PTSD to COVID-19. Conclusions: Our study suggests that PTSD was associated with increased risks for COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. Early diagnosis and effective treatment of PTSD in individuals infected with the coronavirus may improve the management of the outcomes of COVID-19.

posttraumatic stress disorder
Mendelian randomization
Fig. 1.
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