The Identification of Genetic Biomarkers for Fibromyalgia and PTSD in Military Members Following a Combat Deployment




Sterne, Chelsea J.

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Research problem: Underlying genetic and biological mechanisms promoting the manifestation of fibromyalgia, PTSD, and comorbid presentations have not yet been examined. Methods: A sample of 3,237 service members were evaluated following at least one military combat deployment. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was conducted in order to examine potential single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with fibromyalgia, PTSD, or the comorbid presentation. A post-GWAS pathway analysis was also conducted in order to identify canonical pathways, diseases, and biological functions associated with patterns of genetic variants. Results: The primary SNP associated with the presentation of fibromyalgia is mapped to GPHN, a gene directly involved in neuronal functioning and communication. The primary SNP associated with the presentation of PTSD is gene mapped to ELP1, a protein coding gene associated with promoting motility of nerve cells. In the comorbid presentation of PTSD and fibroyalgia, a variant mapped to the gene DDIAS was significant, which is associated with the regulation of apoptosis. Pathways, diseases, and biological functions associated with inflammation, immune system response, neurological functioning, and psychological disorders were all implicated in the presentation of fibromyalgia and PTSD as well as the comorbid presentation. Conclusion: The identification of similar gene variant patterns implicated in the presentation of both fibromyalgia and PTSD hold significant implications for guiding future testing and treatment for those presenting with comorbidity. Given the commonalities between the presentations, future research should focus on incorporating these findings into potential testing and treatment opportunities for those with either or both disorders.


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Genome-wide association study, PTSD, Single nucleotide polymorphisms, Fibromyalgia, Military combat