Social relationships, sleep quality, and interleukin-6 in aging women

Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 01/2006; 102(51):18757-62. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509281102
Source: PubMed


This study examined the interplay of social engagement, sleep quality, and plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a sample of aging women (n = 74, aged 61-90, M age = 73.4). Social engagement was assessed by questionnaire, sleep was assessed by using the NightCap in-home sleep monitoring system and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and blood samples were obtained for analysis of plasma levels of IL-6. Regarding subjective assessment, poorer sleep (higher scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) was associated with lower positive social relations scores. Multivariate regression analyses showed that lower levels of plasma IL-6 were predicted by greater sleep efficiency (P < 0.001), measured objectively and by more positive social relations (P < 0.05). A significant interaction showed that women with the highest IL-6 levels were those with both poor sleep efficiency and poor social relations (P < 0.05). However, those with low sleep efficiency but compensating good relationships as well as women with poor relationships but compensating high sleep efficiency had IL-6 levels comparable to those with the protective influences of both good social ties and good sleep.

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    • "For this latter reason, future research is advised to treat many AL antecedents not only as covariates but also perhaps as mediators and/or moderators. For example, alcohol desensitization in rodents [17] interacts with sleep restriction, and poor social relationships in older women [18] interact with sleep quality to recalibrate AL biomarkers such as adenosine and interleukin-6. "

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    • "Sleep quality may buffer age-related increases in inflammation. For example, greater sleep efficiency and more positive social relations predicted lower levels of the inflammatory marker IL-6, whereas poor sleep efficiency and poor social relations were associated with higher levels of IL-6 [64]. These findings indicate that sleep quality and social support interact to predict risk of inflammation or that both good sleep quality and adequate social support are protective against age-related increases of inflammation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep quality is important to health, and increasingly viewed as critical in promoting successful, resilient aging. In this review, the interplay between sleep and mental and physical health is considered with a focus on the role of inflammation as a biological pathway that translates the effects of sleep on risk of depression, pain and chronic disease risk in aging. Given that sleep regulates inflammatory biologic mechanisms with effects on mental and physical health outcomes, the potential of interventions that target sleep to reduce inflammation and promote health in aging is also discussed.
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    • "Studies have also found a positive association between social support and healthy immune function. More specifically social support has been positively associated with immunoglobulin production (antibody titers) in response to certain vaccines (Glaser et al., 1992), while other studies have found a negative association with systemic inflammatory markers, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6; Friedman et al., 2005; Lutgendorf et al., 2000). Higher social support has been found to attenuate the relationship between depression and mortality related to cardiac events (Frasure-Smith et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychosocial factors such as social support and depression have long been associated with health outcomes. Elevated depressive symptoms are usually associated with worse health outcomes, whereas social support has been related to improvements in health. Nitric oxide levels are an important marker of both cardiovascular health and immune function. Research suggests that exhaled nitric oxide is affected by stress, negative affect, and depression; however, the effect of social support has not been previously explored. Thus, we sought to examine the association of social support, negative affect, and depression with exhaled nitric oxide in a group of 35 healthy individuals (10 males and 25 females) with a mean age of 20.5years across five weekly assessments. Results showed that changes in social support within individuals were positively associated with levels of exhaled nitric oxide independent of other psychosocial factors. Further exploration of the health implications of this positive relationship between airway nitric oxide and social support is necessary.
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