2022 Military Poster Presentations

Heather Martin, Lt1; Rebecca Ryznar, PhD1; Erin Onat, BS1; Sagar Patel, BS1; Ryan Shelton, LT2; Dean Gubler, DOFACSCaptain Ret USN1; Anthony J Laporta, MDFACSFACOSColonelRet1; 1Rocky Vista University; 2South Metro Denver Fire and Emergency

Introduction: Trauma and catastrophes seen by military personnel and first responders puts them at high risk for developing depression, anxiety, PTSD and associated suicide. Both exaggerated/high and blunted/low stress reactivity (HPA) axis has been shown to correlate with poor mental health, along with a pro-inflammatory state. We hypothesis that cytokine levels correlate with mental disorder risk and traumatic life experiences

Methods: A prospective cohort analysis was performed on first responders in the Colorado South Metro Fire Rescue Academy to investigate the stress response and resilience of participating individuals. Resilience) was assessed by measuring levels of cytokines and steroid hormones from firefighters engaging in fire academy training comparing  biomarker levels to LEC-5 (Life Events Checklist) results.  Resilience scores were determined by the Bartone Hardiness Resilience Guage used by special operations groups.

Results: Correlations were demonstrated between LEC-5 results and cytokine levels measured in the cohort experiencing physical and psychological stress. Specifically, Granulocyte Colony Stimulation Factor (GCSF), IL6 and IL18 showed the strongest correlation with LEC-5 scores, p values: 0.02, 0.04, 0.05 correlation coefficients: 0.45, 0.38, 0.38 respectively. 

Conclusions: Our results support that salivary  GCSF,IL6 and IL8 levels are predictive of cortisol reactivity to stress and that  they play  a role in the regenerative recovery following stress, potentially serving a neuroprotective effect. This continues the process of identifying protective treatment for PTSD.