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BMC Psychiatry

, 17:221

Personality disorders and disorders of adult behavior


BackgroundAccording to several studies, the onset of the Borderline Personality Disorder BPD depends on the combination between genetic and environmental factors GxE, in particular between biological vulnerabilities and the exposure to traumatic experiences during childhood. We have searched for studies reporting possible alterations in several biological processes and brain morphological features in relation to childhood trauma experiences and to BPD. We have also looked for epigenetic mechanisms as they could be mediators of the effects of childhood trauma in BPD vulnerability.

DiscussionWe prove the role of alterations in Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal HPA axis, in neurotrasmission, in the endogenous opioid system and in neuroplasticity in the childhood trauma-associated vulnerability to develop BPD; we also confirm the presence of morphological changes in several BPD brain areas and in particular in those involved in stress response.

SummaryNot so many studies are available on epigenetic changes in BPD patients, although these mechanisms are widely investigated in relation to stress-related disorders. A better comprehension of the biological and epigenetic mechanisms, affected by childhood trauma and altered in BPD patients, could allow to identify -at high risk- subjects and to prevent or minimize the development of the disease later in life.

KeywordsBorderline personality disorder Childhood trauma HPA axis Endogenous opioid system Neurotransmission Neuroplasticity Neuroimaging studies Epigenetic mechanisms Abbreviations5-HT3ARSerotonin 3A Receptor

5-HTTSerotonin Transporter 1

5-HTTLPRSerotonin transporter gene

ACTHAdrenocorticotropic Hormone

ADHDAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADRB2Adrenoceptor Beta 2

APBA2Amyloid Beta Precursor Protein Binding Family A Member 2

APBA3Amyloid Beta Precursor Protein Binding Family A Member 3

AVPArginine Vasopressin

BDHIBuss-Durkee-Hostility Inventory

BDNFBrain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

BISBarratt Impulsiveness Scale

BPDBorderline Personality Disorder

CACornu Ammonis

CNSCentral Nervous System


CpGCG dinucleotides

cPTSDcomplex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

CRFCorticotropin-Releasing Factor

CRHRCorticotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor

DAT1Dopamine Transporter 1

DBHDopamine Beta-Hydroxylase

DESNOSDisorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified


DGDentate Gyrus

FKBP5FK506 Binding Protein 5

GABRA1Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Type A Receptor Alpha1 Subunit

GATA4GATA Binding Protein 4

GNB3G Protein Subunit Beta 3

GRGlucocorticoid Receptor

GREGlucocorticoid Responsive Elements

GRIN2BGlutamate Ionotropic Receptor NMDA Type Subunit 2B

HPA axisHypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis

HTR1B5-Hydroxytryptamine Receptor 1B

HTR2A5-Hydroxytryptamine Receptor 2A

IL17RAInterleukin 17 Receptor A

KCNQ1Potassium Voltage-Gated Channel Subfamily Q Member 1

KCNQ2Potassium Voltage-Gated Channel Subfamily Q Member 2

MAOAMonoamine Oxidase A

MAOBMonoamine Oxidase B

MCF2Proto-Oncogene MCF-2

MDDMajor Depressive Disorder


MRMineralcorticoid Receptor

NINJ2Ninjurin 2


NOS1Nitric Oxide Synthase 1

NR3C1Glucocorticoid receptor gene

PETPositron Emission Tomography

PKCProtein Kinase C

PRIMA1Prolin Rich Membrane Anchor 1

PTSDPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PVNParaventricular Nucleus

SLC6A2Solute Carrier Family 6 Member 2

SNPSingle nucleotide polymorphism

TAAR5Trace Amine Associated Receptor 5

THTyrosine Hydroxylase

TPH1Tryptophan Hydroxylase 1

Autor: Nadia Cattane - Roberta Rossi - Mariangela Lanfredi - Annamaria Cattaneo


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