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Nat Commun. 2019 Feb 15;10(1):773. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08732-x.

Multi-cohort study identifies social determinants of systemic inflammation over the life course.

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LEASP, UMR 1027, Inserm-Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, 31000, France.
MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, W2 1PG, UK.
Psychiatric Epidemiology and Psychopathology Center, Department of Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, 1004, Switzerland.
Epidemiology Unit, ASL TO3 Piedmont Region, Grugliasco, 10095, Italy.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.
Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, P. O. Box 20, Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland.
Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, 20133, Italy.
Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, 80131, Italy.
Piedmont Reference Centre for Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention (CPO Piemonte), Turin, 10126, Italy.
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, 1010, Switzerland.
Cancer Registry and Histopathology Department, 'Civic - M. P. Arezzo' Hospital, ASP Ragusa, Ragusa, 97100, Italy.
Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine (IIGM), Torino, 10126, Italy.
LEASP, UMR 1027, Inserm-Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, 31000, France.


Chronic inflammation has been proposed as having a prominent role in the construction of social inequalities in health. Disentangling the effects of early life and adulthood social disadvantage on inflammation is key in elucidating biological mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities. Here we explore the relationship between socioeconomic position (SEP) across the life course and inflammation (as measured by CRP levels) in up to 23,008 participants from six European cohort studies from three countries conducted between 1958 and 2013. We find a consistent inverse association between SEP and CRP across cohorts, where participants with a less advantaged SEP have higher levels of inflammation. Educational attainment is most strongly related to inflammation, after adjusting for health behaviours, body mass index and later-in-life SEP. These findings suggest socioeconomic disadvantage in young adulthood is independently associated with later life inflammation calling for further studies of the pathways operating through educational processes.

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