Objective Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been associated with lower circulating cortisol levels in specific subgroups, which have also been found in the offspring of people with PTSD. The analysis of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) is a recent methodology which is used to assess long-term systemic cortisol levels. We aimed to study veterans with war-related lifetime PTSD and their respective offspring with regards to HCC. We also studied the influence of lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD), war experiences, and childhood adversities on HCC in these groups. Methods 31 male veterans with PTSD and 28 without PTSD and 69 adult offspring were studied. HCC were quantified by liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry. Results No differences in HCC were found between veterans with and without PTSD, or between their respective offspring. Veterans without MDD showed a positive association between total war exposure and HCC. Veterans reporting more frequent childhood physical abuse had lower HCC. Veterans-with-PTSD’s offspring with MDD had increased HCC compared to offspring without MDD. Offspring’s exposure to more frequent childhood physical abuse was negatively associated with HCC in those without MDD. Conclusion HCC did not appear to constitute a marker of intergenerational heritage of war-related PTSD, except in the case of veteranswith-PTSD’s offspring with MDD. Our data suggest that HCC is a marker of adult reported childhood physical abuse

Posttraumatic stress disorder, Hair cortisol, War veterans, Intergenerational transmission, Major depressive disorder, Childhood adversities.
dx.doi.org/10.30773/pi.2020.0212, hdl.handle.net/1765/131357
Psychiatry Investigation
Department of Internal Medicine

Castro-Vale, I., van Rossum, E.F.C, Staufenbiel, S.M., Severo, M., Mota-Cardoso, R., & Carvalho, D. (2020). Hair Cortisol as a Marker of Intergenerational Heritage of War? A Study of Veterans and Their Offspring. Psychiatry Investigation, 17(10), 976–986. doi:10.30773/pi.2020.0212