Can Your DNA Predict Therapy Success?

Borderline Personality Disorder and BPD

Research has identified several genes that may be important for the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Of special interest are epigenetic mechanisms: genes that may turn on or off depending on one’s experience.

What kind of experiences? Intense, early childhood experiences are no doubt important for the development of BPD. This includes different forms of maltreatment, abuse, and neglect. Those experiences contribute to the development of BPD, possibly through the activation or deactivation of certain genes.

A recent study examined three such genes and therapy outcome. The researchers examined 44 patients with BPD undergoing Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The results? They found a relationship between repression in two of the genes and therapy success. Two of the genes (APBA3 and MCF2) showed higher levels of “DNA methylation” on those persons for whom DBT was successful.

Why does this matter? In the future, it may be possible to predict whether or not DBT will be successful based on a genetic test. Eventually, it may be possible to tailor treatment for BPD (and other disorders) based upon one’s genetic makeup.

Tanner Oliver