Neuroendocrine and Inflammatory Factors Associated with Positive Affect in Healthy Men and Women The Whitehall II Study

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
American journal of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 01/2008; 167(1):96-102. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwm252
Source: PubMed


Positive affective states are associated with favorable health outcomes, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The authors assessed associations between positive affect, cortisol sampled over the day, and inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) among 2,873 healthy members of the Whitehall II study. Data for this study were collected in 2002-2004 in London, United Kingdom. Saliva free cortisol was assessed on waking, 30 minutes later, and four times over the day and evening. Positive affect was indexed by aggregating ecological momentary assessments of positive mood over the day. Salivary cortisol averaged over the day was inversely associated with positive affect after controlling for age, gender, income, ethnicity, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, smoking, paid employment, time of waking in the morning, and depression (p = 0.003). There was no association with cortisol responses to waking. The adjusted odds of C-reactive protein >/=3.00 mg/liter was 1.89 (95% confidence interval: 1.08, 3.31) in low- compared with high-positive-affect women, and plasma interleukin-6 was also inversely related to positive affect in women (p = 0.016). Neither inflammatory marker was related to positive affect in men. These results confirm findings from smaller studies relating cortisol with positive affect while suggesting that in women, positive affect is associated with reduced levels of inflammatory markers.

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    • "That report supported earlier findings by Chapman et al. (2011), who found that higher Conscientiousness and Openness were associated with lower IL6. Furthermore, low levels of IL6 have been associated with a heightened sense of psychological well-being (Friedman et al., 2007) and positive affect (Steptoe et al., 2008). Dispositional optimism was found to be associated with low IL6 levels in black adolescents (Oreskovic and Goodman, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin-6 (IL6) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is required for resistance against many pathogens. However, sustained IL6 activity can cause tissue damage in the periphery and brain. Previous studies have shown that populations in disease-endemic regions adapt by selecting the high-producing G-allele at the -174G>C (rs1800795) polymorphism, while others have linked increased IL6 to cognitive impairments. The present study sought to determine whether up-regulation of IL6 by the G-allele at rs1800795 polymorphism in disease-endemic regions was associated with increased cognitive deficits and corollary reductions in social, economic, and political development. We tested these hypotheses in a global sample of 189 nations with World Health Organization ratings for infectious diseases. We also included the Historical Pathogen Prevalence index, a measure of national average intelligence (IQ), and the United Nation Human Development Index (HDI) including per capita income, life expectancy, child mortality, and fertility rate. IL6 -174G>C allele frequencies were obtained from 171,168 individuals spanning 84 nations. The high-producing G-allele frequency was positively correlated with infectious disease ranking (r=0.745, P<0.001) and negatively with IQ (r=-0.524, P<0.001) and HDI (r=-0.671, P<0.001). These robust findings suggest that in regions with a high pathogen burden the need for a strong IL6 response is accompanied by cognitive deficits and reduced HDI ranking. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    • "Although the associations between negative emotions and physiological dysregulation are well-documented, the links between positive psychological factors and inflammation have received less attention. Emerging evidence suggests that indicators of well-being—such as positive affect, purpose in life, and positive social relations—are associated with lower inflammation (Brouwers et al., 2013; Deverts et al., 2010; Friedman and Ryff, 2012; Friedman et al., 2005, 2007; Prather et al., 2007; Steptoe et al., 2008; Von Känel et al., 2012) and less inflammatory reactivity during acute stress tasks (Aschbacher et al., 2012; Steptoe et al., Contents lists available at ScienceDirect "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Inflammation is implicated in the development of chronic diseases and increases the risk of mortality. People who experience more daily stressors than others have higher levels of inflammation, but it is unknown whether daily positive events are linked to inflammation. Objective To examine the association of daily positive events with 3 inflammatory markers, interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and fibrinogen. Method A cross-sectional sample of 969 adults aged 35-86 from the Midlife in the United States Study completed telephone interviews for 8 consecutive evenings. Participants reported positive experiences that occurred over the past 24 hours. Blood samples were obtained at a separate clinic visit and later assayed for inflammatory markers. Regression analyses evaluated the frequency of daily positive events (defined as the percent of study days with at least 1 positive event) as a predictor of each inflammatory marker. Covariates included information on demographics, physical health, depressive symptoms, dispositional and behavioral factors, and daily positive and negative affect. Results On average, participants experienced positive events on 73% of days (SD = 27%). The frequency of daily positive events was associated with lower IL-6 (p < 0.001) and CRP (p = 0.02) in the overall sample, and lower fibrinogen among women (p = 0.01). The association remained for IL-6 in the fully adjusted model, but was no longer significant for CRP and fibrinogen after controlling for household income and race. Effects were more pronounced for participants in the lowest quartile of positive event frequency than for those in the top 3 quartiles, suggesting that lack of positivity in daily life may be particularly consequential for inflammation. Furthermore, interpersonal positive events were more predictive of lower IL-6 overall and lower fibrinogen in women than non-interpersonal positive events. Conclusion Daily positive events may serve a protective role against inflammation.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    • "In the third model (Model 3), BMI, exercise, smoking and educational level were added to the first model, and in the fourth model (Model 4) depressive symptoms were added to Model 1 by using the continuous CES-D scores. The choice of covariates was based on theoretical evidence of possible confounders of inflammation (BNP: Consoli et al., 2012; diabetes: Calle and Fernandez, 2012; educational level: Clark et al., 2012; kidney failure: Colombo et al., 2011; excersice, smoking: Duivis et al., 2011; aspirin use: Ikonomidis et al., 1999: BMI: Spies et al., 2009; age, gender: Steptoe et al., 2008; statin use: Zhang et al., 2010) Positive affect (baseline) and other covariates were entered into the model as fixed effects to examine whether they are significantly associated with the (variance of) the averaged inflammatory biomarkers over time. No post hoc corrections were made for multiple comparisons due to the high probability of finding small effect sizes, the moderate to high correlation between the cytokines, and the explorative nature of the analyses. "
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    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Biological psychology
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