BA11 FKBP5 expression levels correlate with dendritic spine density in postmortem PTSD and controls

Keith A. Young, Peter M. Thompson, Dianne A. Cruz, Douglas E. Williamson, Lynn D. Selemon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Genetic variants of the immunophilin FKBP5 have been implicated in susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other stress-related disorders. We examined the relationship between mushroom, stubby, thin and filopodial spine densities measured with Golgi staining and FKBP5 gene expression in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (BA11) in individuals diagnosed with PTSD and normal controls (n = 8/8). ANCOVA revealed PTSD cases had a significantly elevated density of stubby spines (29%, P < 0.037) and a trend for a reduction in mushroom spine density (25%, p < 0.082). Levels of FKBP5 mRNA were marginally elevated in the PTSD cases (z = 1.94, p = 0.053) and levels correlated inversely with mushroom (Spearman's rho = -0.83, p < 0.001) and overall spine density (rho = -0.75, p < 0.002) and directly with stubby spine density (rho = 0.55, p < 0.027). These data suggest that FKBP5 may participate in a cellular pathway modulating neuronal spine density changes in the brain, and that this pathway may be dysregulated in PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Stress
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Dendritic spine
  • FKBP5
  • Post-mortem
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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