Original Articles

Investigation of Thiol/Disulfide Balance and Oxidative DNA Damage in Patients Experiencing Avalanche Disaster and with a Diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Department of Mental Health and Diseases, Yüzüncü Yıl University School of Medicine, Van, Turkey


Department of Biochemistry, Yüzüncü Yıl University School of Medicine, Van, Turkey

Alpha Psychiatry 2021; 22: 123-129
DOI: 10.5455/apd.10091
Read: 1932 Downloads: 171 Published: 07 May 2021

Objective: There are few studies on oxidative stress in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The thiol/disulfide homeostasis is a new marker of oxidative stress. This study aimed to examine the oxidative DNA damage and thiol/disulfide homeostasis after 6 months in patients who developed PTSD after an avalanche disaster and to compare them with healthy controls.

Methods: A total of 31 patients who developed PTSD after 2 consecutive avalanche disasters that occurred in Van on February 4 and 5, 2020, resulting in 42 deaths, and 33 healthy volunteers were included in the study. The patients were followed up by a psychiatrist within the framework of psychosocial intervention during their admission to Yüzüncü Yil University Medical Faculty Emergency Service. The patients monitored for a long time were diagnosed according to DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. The clinical follow-up was evaluated with the post-traumatic stress disorder self-assessment (PTSD-KD) and the impact of events scale. To determine oxidative DNA damage, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and deoxyguanosine (dG) levels were determined by isolating leukocyte DNA. Oxidative DNA damage was given as a ratio of 8-OHdG/106dG. Total thiol/native thiol levels were also determined. Disulfide levels were calculated by subtracting native thiol results from the total thiol results and dividing them by 2.

Results: It was determined that total thiol and native thiol levels in patients with PTSD were statistically significantly lower than in the healthy control group (P = .001), and the disulfide levels were higher in the PTSD group compared with that in the healthy control group (P = .001). In addition, 8-OHdG, an indicator of DNA damage, was found to be significantly lower in the control group than in the patient group (P = .001).

Conclusion: In our study, thiol/disulfide homeostasis was observed to shift toward disulfide in patients with PTSD when compared with healthy controls. The level of 8-OHdG, the indicator of DNA damage, was observed to increase in patients with PTSD. This result indicates that thiol/disulfide homeostasis can be significant in the pathophysiology of oxidative stress in these patients.

Cite this article as: Kurhan F, Alp HH.  Investigation of thiol/disulfide balance and oxidative DNA damage in patients experiencing avalanche disaster and with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Alpha Psychiatry. 2021;22(3):123-129.

EISSN 2757-8038