C‐reactive protein, early life stress, and wellbeing in healthy adults

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Carpenter LL, Gawuga CE, Tyrka AR, Price LH. C‐reactive protein, early life stress, and wellbeing in healthy adults.

Objective:  To determine whether C‐reactive protein (CRP) can serve as a marker for alterations in immune function prior to the manifestation of significant psychiatric and medical disorders.

Method:  Ninety‐two healthy adults were recruited from the community and determined to be free of psychiatric or medical disorders. The concentration of plasma CRP from a single resting sample was examined in relation to current mental and physical health as well as to self‐reported history of early life adversity.

Results:  C‐reactive protein showed a significant positive correlation with body mass index (BMI; r = 0.477, P <0.001). Non‐specific pain, fatigue, and lower overall quality of physical health were all associated with higher CRP concentrations (all P < 0.05 or P < 0.01), after controlling for effect of BMI and other relevant covariates. Subthreshold depression symptoms and other indices of mental/emotional wellbeing were not associated with CRP, nor was CRP significantly linked to any measures of early life adversity.

Conclusion:  Lower‐quality physical health and wellbeing, but not the presence of mood/anxiety symptoms or early life stress (ELS), were significantly related to plasma CRP. Elevated CRP does not appear to be a fundamental consequence of ELS among healthy adults.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01892.x

Affiliations: Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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