Elevated levels of C-reactive protein appear associated with psychological distress, depression

Elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammatory disease, appear to be associated with increased risk of psychological distress and depression in the general population of adults in Denmark, according to a report published Online First by Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA Network publication.

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability and previous studies suggest that low-grade may contribute to the development of depression. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a commonly used marker of inflammation, and inflammatory disease is suspected when CRP levels exceed 10 mg/L. Researchers are unclear whether and to what extent elevated CRP levels are associated with and depression in the general population, according to the study background.

Marie Kim Wium-Andersen, M.D., of Herlev Hospital and Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, and colleagues examined whether elevated of CRP were associated with distress and depression. Researchers analyzed CRP levels using data from two general population studies in Copenhagen, which included 73,131 men and 20 to 100 years.

"The main finding of this study consisted of an association of elevated CRP levels with an increased risk for psychological distress and depression in the general population," the authors comment.

Increasing CRP levels were associated with increasing risk for psychological distress and depression in analyses. For self-reported antidepressant use, the odds ratio was 1.38 for CRP levels of 1.01 to 3 mg/L, 2.02 for 3.01 to 10 mg/L, and 2.7 for greater than 10 mg/L compared with 0.01 to 1 mg/L. For prescription of antidepressants, the corresponding odds ratios were 1.08, 1.47 and 1.77, respectively; for hospitalization with depression they were 1.30, 1.84 and 2.27 respectively. Other analyses suggest that increasing CRP levels also were associated with increasing risk for hospitalization with depression, according to the study results.

"More research is needed to establish the direction of the association between CRP and depression because this study and others are primarily cross-sectional. The results also support the initiation of intervention studies to examine whether adding anti-inflammatory drugs to antidepressants for treatment of depression will improve outcome," the authors conclude.

More information: Arch Gen Psychiatry. Published online December 24, 2012. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.102

Related Stories

Inflammation in depression: Chicken or egg?

Jan 05, 2012

An important ongoing debate in the field of psychiatry is whether inflammation in the body is a consequence of or contributor to major depression. A new study in Biological Psychiatry has attempted to resolve the issue.

Blood test for inflammation may be sign of colon cancer

Apr 19, 2010

A blood test used to determine the level of inflammation in the body may offer some help in assessing colon cancer risk, according to results of a study to be presented by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's Gong Yang, M.D., ...

Recommended for you

Family dinners reduce effects of cyberbullying in adolescents

2 hours ago

Sharing regular family meals with children may help protect them from the effects of cyberbullying, according to a study by McGill professor Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy. Because family meal times represent ...

The Edwardians were also fans of brain training

8 hours ago

Brain-training programmes are all the rage. They are part of a growing digital brain-health industry that earned more than US$1 billion in revenue in 2012 and is estimated to reach US$6 billion by 2020. The extent to which they actually improve brain function re ...

Report advocates improved police training

Aug 29, 2014

A new report released yesterday by the Mental Health Commission of Canada identifies ways to improve the mental health training and education that police personnel receive.

User comments