Some Anxiety and Stress-related Disorders Linked to High Levels of Inflammation

Pavankumar Kamat

Disclosures

January 24, 2022

Takeaway

  • Certain anxiety and stress-related disorders (including panic disorder, stress/adjustment disorders, and generalised anxiety disorder) may be associated with high levels of inflammation, as measured by C-reactive protein (CRP).

  • However, these associations were diminished after adjusting for health-related factors including multimorbidity, body mass index (BMI), and depressive symptoms.

Why this matters

  • Findings warrant further large birth cohorts, Mendelian randomisation, and experimental studies to determine the potential causal associations and underlying mechanisms between anxiety and stress-related disorders and CRP.

Study design

  • The study included 353,136 participants (age, 40-70 years), identified from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).

  • The association of different anxiety/stress-related disorders with inflammation measured by CRP was evaluated.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Of 353,136 participants, 12,759 (3.61%) had a history of anxiety or stress-related disorders.

  • The other anxiety disorders group was more likely to have a CRP of >3 mg/L (adjusted OR [aOR] 1.164; 95% CI 1.096 to 1.236; P<0.001), but this association was attenuated after adjustment for BMI, multimorbidity, and depressive symptoms.

  • The stress/adjustment disorders group was more likely to have a CRP of >3 mg/L (aOR 1.107; 95% CI 1.040 to 1.178; P<0.01), but this association was attenuated after adjustment for BMI, multimorbidity, and depressive symptoms.

  • Phobic anxiety disorders (aOR 1.059; 95% CI 0.896 to 1.251) and obsessive-compulsive disorders (aOR 1.299; 95% CI 0.973 to 1.733) showed no statistically significant association with CRP.

Limitations

  • Study evaluated only the inflammatory marker CRP because of its good availability within large population-based cohort studies and clinical relevance.

Kennedy E, Niedzwiedz CL. The association of anxiety and stress-related disorders with C-reactive protein (CRP) within UK Biobank. Brain Behav Immun Health. 2021;19:100410. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100410. PMID: 35028602 View abstract.

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