Stress and Body Mass Index Each Contributes Independently to Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Production in Prepubescent Latino Children

University of Miami Behavioral Medicine Research Center, c/o VA Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA.
Journal of pediatric nursing (Impact Factor: 1.01). 10/2009; 24(5):378-88. DOI: 10.1016/j.pedn.2008.02.034
Source: PubMed


This investigation extended prior work by determining if stress and body mass index (BMI) contributed independently to tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) levels among prepubescent Latino children and if sex and family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) modified these relationships. Data were collected in South Florida from 112 nondiabetic school-aged Hispanic children, of whom 43.8% were obese (BMI >/= 95th percentile) and 51.8% presented with a family history of T2DM. Stressful life events were assessed via parental report using a life events scale. Plasma TNF-alpha levels were determined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The relative contributions of stress and BMI with TNF-alpha levels and the potential interaction effects of sex and family history of T2DM were analyzed with multiple linear regression analyses. Stress and BMI each accounted for a significant proportion of the unique variance associated with TNF-alpha. The association between stress and TNF-alpha was not modified by sex or family history of T2DM. These findings implicate BMI and stress as independent determinants of TNF-alpha (an inflammatory cytokine and adipocytokine) among Latino children. Future investigations should examine the potential roles of exercise, nutritional status, age, and growth hormone in explicating the relationship between TNF-alpha production and psychosocial distress and risk for infection among obese children.

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    • "Our study is unique in providing insight on the temporal relationship between adverse events in early and middle childhood, subsequent inflammation, and the persistence of inflammation. These results correspond with prior research indicating elevated levels of inflammation among children and adolescents (Murasko, 2008; Dixon et al., 2009; Fuligni et al., 2009a; Howe et al., 2010) and adults (Taylor et al., 2006; Danese et al., 2007; Pollitt et al., 2007; Taylor et al., 2011) who experienced adversity in early life. These findings may also explain some of the inconsistencies across earlier studies. "
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