The new issue of *Archives of General Psychiatry* (Vol. 65 No. 4)
includes a study: “Elevated Inflammation Levels in Depressed Adults With
a History of Childhood Maltreatment.” 8 April 08

The article is by Andrea Danese, MD, MSc; Terrie E. Moffitt, PhD;
Carmine M. Pariante, MD, MRCPsych, PhD; Antony Ambler, MSc; Richie
Poulton, PhD; & Avshalom Caspi, PhD.

Conclusions:

A history of childhood maltreatment contributes to the co-occurrence of
depression and inflammation. Information about experiences of childhood
maltreatment may help to identify depressed individuals with elevated
inflammation levels and, thus, at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

Here’s the abstract:

Context

The association between depression and inflammation is inconsistent
across research samples.

Objective

To test whether a history of childhood maltreatment could identify a
subgroup of depressed individuals with elevated inflammation levels,
thus helping to explain previous inconsistencies.

Design

Prospective longitudinal cohort study.

Setting

New Zealand.

Participants

A representative birth cohort of 1000 individuals was followed up to age
32 years as part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development
Study. Study members were assessed for history of childhood maltreatment
and current depression.

Main Outcome Measures

Inflammation was assessed using a clinically relevant categorical
measure of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (>3 mg/L) and a
dimensional inflammation factor indexing the shared variance of
continuous measures of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fibrinogen,
and white blood cells.

Results

Although depression was associated with high levels of high-sensitivity
C-reactive protein (relative risk,1.45; 95% confidence interval,
1.06-1.99), this association was significantly attenuated and no longer
significant when the effect of childhood maltreatment was taken into
account. Individuals with current depression and a history of childhood
maltreatment were more likely to have high levels of high-sensitivity C-
reactive protein compared with control subjects (n = 27; relative risk,
2.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.23-3.47). In contrast, individuals with
current depression only had a nonsignificant elevation in risk (n = 109;
relative risk, 1.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.97-2.01). Results were
generalizable to the inflammation factor. The elevated inflammation
levels in individuals who were both depressed and maltreated were not
explained by correlated risk factors such as depression recurrence, low
socioeconomic status in childhood or adulthood, poor health, or smoking.

Conclusions

A history of childhood maltreatment contributes to the co-occurrence of
depression and inflammation. Information about experiences of childhood
maltreatment may help to identify depressed individuals with elevated
inflammation levels and, thus, at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

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