Full Program »
9. Inflammation is Associated with Future Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults
Depression has been strongly linked to elevated inflammation with evidence that inflammation may induce depressive symptoms and vice versa. Among older adults (Ns = 327-457, ages 60-73 at baseline) who participated in the ongoing longitudinal St. Louis Personality and Aging Network (SPAN) study, we examined whether pro-inflammatory cytokines derived from fasting serum samples (i.e., Interleukin-6: IL-6, C-Reactive Protein: CRP, and Tumor Necrosis Factor α: TNF-α) and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory II) are prospectively associated with one another across 2 sessions (2.2 ± 0.25 years apart; data collection for the second session is still ongoing). After accounting for a host of confounding factors (e.g., demographics, medication use) as well as baseline depression symptoms, baseline inflammation (i.e., IL-6 and CRP, but not TNF-α) was associated with elevated depressive symptoms at the follow-up session (IL-6: β = 0.08, p = 0.03; CRP: β = 0.08, p = 0.03; TNF-α: β = 0.04, p = 0.25). However, after accounting for baseline inflammation, there was no association between depressive symptoms and follow-up inflammatory markers (βs = -0.04-0.00, all ps > 0.05). These findings add to a growing literature suggesting that inflammatory signaling may promote the development of depression.