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Synaptic Plasticity in PTSD and associated Comorbidities: The Function and Mechanism for Diagnostics and Therapy

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The studying of synaptic plasticity, the ability of synaptic connections between neurons to be weakened or strengthened and specifically long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), is one of the most active areas of research in neuroscience. The process of synaptic connections playing a crucial role in improving cognitive processes is important to the processing of information in brain. In general, the dysfunction of synaptic plasticity was involved in a wide spectrum of central nervous system (CNS) disorders, including some neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, synaptic plasticity which is a dysfunction reported in neurodegenerative disorders may also be involved in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety and/or memory disorder developed after experiencing natural disasters, domestic violence or combat-related trauma. In this review, we mainly focus on discussing the biological function and mechanism for diagnostics and therapy of synaptic plasticity in PTSD and associated comorbidities, such as schizophrenia, depression, sleep disturbances and alcohol dependence, and further studying the molecular mechanisms of PTSD with a particular focus on the LTP/LTD, glutamatergic ligand-receptor systems, voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-tyrosine kinase B (TrkB). The summarized function and mechanism of synaptic plasticity in PTSD and its comorbidities may help us further understand PTSD and provide insight into novel neuroplasticity modifying for diagnostics and treatment for PTSD.
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Keywords: LTD; LTP; Synaptic plasticity; comorbidity; glutamatergic ligand-receptor; posttraumatic stress disorder

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

This article was made available online on December 18, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Synaptic Plasticity in PTSD and Associated Comorbidities: The Function and Mechanism for Diagnostics and Therapy".

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