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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 May;47(5):604-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Association of elevated cytokines with childhood adversity in a sample of healthy adults.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Clinical Neuroscience Division, Medical University of South Carolina, 125 Doughty Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Childhood trauma has been associated adult stress-related disorders. However, little is known about physiologic alterations in adults with a history of early life trauma that do not have current psychiatric or medical diagnoses. In this study, the relationships between childhood adversity and cytokine and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in healthy adults were examined.

METHOD:

Participants included men (n = 18) and women (n = 20) who did not meet DSM-IV criteria for Axis I psychiatric disorders or any major medical illness. Cytokine and CRP levels were obtained from baseline blood samples. Subjects completed the Early Trauma Inventory Self Report (ETI-SR). The primary outcomes included serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL1-β), and CRP levels. In addition, the mean numbers of traumatic experiences (sexual, physical, emotional, general, and the summed total) were measured.

RESULTS:

Significant positive associations were found between the total ETI score and IL-6 (p = 0.05), IL1-β (p < 0.05), and TNF-α (p = 0.01). Significant positive correlations were found between the number of general traumas and IL1-β (p < 0.05), TNF-α (p < 0.05), and IL-6 (p < 0.01). Neither the total number of traumas nor any of the trauma subscales were significantly associated with CRP levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

The positive association between childhood trauma and basal cytokine levels supports the extant literature demonstrating the long-term impact of childhood trauma and stress on homeostatic systems. Importantly, this association was found in healthy adults, suggesting that these alterations may precede the development of significant stress-related psychiatric disorder or disease.

PMID:
23415658
PMCID:
PMC3594625
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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