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

Morath J, Gola H, Sommershof A, Hamuni G, Kolassa S, Catani C, Adenauer H, Ruf-Leuschner M, Schauer M, Elbert T, Groettrup M, et al. (2014)
Journal of Psychiatric Research 54: 1-10.

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Abstract
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with a reduced ratio of naive 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 (T-regs) in the NET group at the one-year follow-up, when comparing subgroups matched for baseline T-reg numbers. However, no changes were found for the initially reduced proportion of CD45RA(+)CCR7(+) naive T lymphocytes. In conclusion, NET was effective in reducing trauma-related PTSD symptoms and had a positive effect on the proportion of T-regs cells, thus demonstrating an effect of psychotherapy on an immunological level. Yet, the shift in the proportion of naive 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. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Morath J, Gola H, Sommershof A, et al. The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2014;54:1-10.
Morath, J., Gola, H., Sommershof, A., Hamuni, G., Kolassa, S., Catani, C., Adenauer, H., et al. (2014). The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 54, 1-10.
Morath, J., Gola, H., Sommershof, A., Hamuni, G., Kolassa, S., Catani, C., Adenauer, H., Ruf-Leuschner, M., Schauer, M., Elbert, T., et al. (2014). The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research 54, 1-10.
Morath, J., et al., 2014. The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 54, p 1-10.
J. Morath, et al., “The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial”, Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 54, 2014, pp. 1-10.
Morath, J., Gola, H., Sommershof, A., Hamuni, G., Kolassa, S., Catani, C., Adenauer, H., Ruf-Leuschner, M., Schauer, M., Elbert, T., Groettrup, M., Kolassa, I.-T.: The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 54, 1-10 (2014).
Morath, Julia, Gola, Hannah, Sommershof, Annette, Hamuni, Gilava, Kolassa, Stephan, Catani, Claudia, Adenauer, Hannah, Ruf-Leuschner, Martina, Schauer, Maggie, Elbert, Thomas, Groettrup, Marcus, and Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana. “The effect of trauma-focused therapy on the altered T cell distribution in individuals with PTSD: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial”. Journal of Psychiatric Research 54 (2014): 1-10.
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