The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD : evidence from a randomized controlled trial

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Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2014, 54, pp. 1-10. ISSN 0022-3956. eISSN 1879-1379. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.016
Zusammenfassung

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with a reduced ratio of naïve cytotoxic T lymphocytes, an increased ratio of memory cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and a reduced proportion of FoxP3+ regulatory T lymphocytes. This study investigated whether these immunological alterations are reversible through an evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment. Therefore, 34 individuals with PTSD were randomly assigned to either a treatment condition of 12 sessions narrative exposure therapy (NET) or a waitlist control (WLC) group. PTSD symptoms were significantly reduced in the NET group, but not in the WLC group, four months post-therapy (effect size: Hedges' g = −1.61). One year after therapy, PTSD symptoms were improved even further in the NET group compared to baseline (Hedges' g = −1.96). This symptom improvement was mirrored in an increase in the originally reduced proportion of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the NET group at the one-year follow-up, when comparing subgroups matched for baseline Treg numbers. However, no changes were found for the initially reduced proportion of CD45RA+CCR7+ naïve T lymphocytes. In conclusion, NET was effective in reducing trauma-related PTSD symptoms and had a positive effect on the proportion of Tregs cells, thus demonstrating an effect of psychotherapy on an immunological level. Yet, the shift in the proportion of naïve and memory T lymphocytes in individuals with PTSD, discussed in the literature as a correlate of premature immunosenescence, was not reversible and thus might render these patients permanently more susceptible to infectious diseases.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
150 Psychologie
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Psychotherapy, Narrative exposure therapy (NET), T lymphocytes, Regulatory T cells
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ISO 690MORATH, Julia, Hannah GOLA, Annette SOMMERSHOF, Gilava HAMUNI, Stephan KOLASSA, Claudia CATANI, Hannah ADENAUER, Martina RUF-LEUSCHNER, Maggie SCHAUER, Thomas ELBERT, Marcus GRÖTTRUP, Iris-Tatjana KOLASSA, 2014. The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD : evidence from a randomized controlled trial. In: Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2014, 54, pp. 1-10. ISSN 0022-3956. eISSN 1879-1379. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.016
BibTex
@article{Morath2014-07effec-28951,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.03.016},
  title={The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD : evidence from a randomized controlled trial},
  volume={54},
  issn={0022-3956},
  journal={Journal of Psychiatric Research},
  pages={1--10},
  author={Morath, Julia and Gola, Hannah and Sommershof, Annette and Hamuni, Gilava and Kolassa, Stephan and Catani, Claudia and Adenauer, Hannah and Ruf-Leuschner, Martina and Schauer, Maggie and Elbert, Thomas and Gröttrup, Marcus and Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana}
}
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