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Associations between childhood maltreatment and inflammatory markers

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stuart Watson, Dr Andreas FinkelmeyerORCiD, Professor Hamish McAllister-WilliamsORCiD, Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier, Dr Rajesh NairORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2018. Background: Childhood maltreatment is one of the strongest predictors of adulthood depression and alterations to circulating levels of inflammatory markers is one putative mechanism mediating risk or resilience. Aims: To determine the effects of childhood maltreatment on circulating levels of 41 inflammatory markers in healthy individuals and those with a major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnosis. Method: We investigated the association of childhood maltreatment with levels of 41 inflammatory markers in two groups, 164 patients with MDD and 301 controls, using multiplex electrochemiluminescence methods applied to blood serum. Results: Childhood maltreatment was not associated with altered inflammatory markers in either group after multiple testing correction. Body mass index (BMI) exerted strong effects on interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein levels in those with MDD. Conclusions: Childhood maltreatment did not exert effects on inflammatory marker levels in either the participants with MDD or the control group in our study. Our results instead highlight the more pertinent influence of BMI. Declaration of interest: D.A.C. and H.W. work for Eli Lilly Inc. R.N. has received speaker fees from Sunovion, Jansen and Lundbeck. G.B. has received consultancy fees and funding from Eli Lilly. R.H.M.-W. has received consultancy fees or has a financial relationship with AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cyberonics, Eli Lilly, Ferrer, Janssen-Cilag, Lundbeck, MyTomorrows, Otsuka, Pfizer, Pulse, Roche, Servier, SPIMACO and Sunovian. I.M.A. has received consultancy fees or has a financial relationship with Alkermes, Lundbeck, Lundbeck/Otsuka, and Servier. S.W. has sat on an advisory board for Sunovion, Allergan and has received speaker fees from Astra Zeneca. A.H.Y. has received honoraria for speaking from Astra Zeneca, Lundbeck, Eli Lilly, Sunovion; honoraria for consulting from Allergan, Livanova and Lundbeck, Sunovion, Janssen; and research grant support from Janssen. A.J.C. has received honoraria for speaking from Astra Zeneca, honoraria for consulting with Allergan, Livanova and Lundbeck and research grant support from Lundbeck.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Palmos AB, Watson S, Hughes T, Finkelmeyer A, McAllister-Williams RH, Ferrier N, Anderson IM, Nair R, Young AH, Strawbridge R, Cleare AJ, Chung R, Frissa S, Goodwin L, Hotopf M, Hatch SL, Wang H, Collier DA, Thuret S, Breen G, Powell TR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BJ Psych Open

Year: 2019

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 01/01/2019

Acceptance date: 21/11/2018

Date deposited: 15/02/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2056-4724

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1192/bjo.2018.80


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Funder referenceFunder name
08/43/39National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)