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Excess body weight and specific types of depressive symptoms: Is there a mediating role of systemic low-grade inflammation?

Chu, K; Cadar, D; Iob, E; Frank, P; (2023) Excess body weight and specific types of depressive symptoms: Is there a mediating role of systemic low-grade inflammation? Brain, Behavior, and Immunity , 108 pp. 233-244. 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.11.016. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of depression. Systemic low-grade inflammation, a plausible consequence of obesity, has also been linked to depression. However, the potential mediating effects of systemic low-grade inflammation on the association between excess body weight and specific symptom domains of depression remain uncertain. This study examined whether systemic low-grade inflammation mediated the associations of excess body weight (overweight and obesity) with subsequent overall, cognitive-affective, and somatic depressive symptoms. DESIGN: This study used a prospective cohort design. METHODS: The final analytical sample included 4,942 adults aged ≥50 years drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Body mass index (BMI) and covariates were ascertained at baseline (wave 4, 2008/09). Continuous BMI scores were divided into four categories: ‘normal weight’ (18.5 ≤ BMI <25 kg/m2); ‘overweight’ (25 ≤ BMI <30 kg/m2); ‘obesity’ (BMI ≥30 kg/m2); in addition to ‘excess body weight’ (‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ combined). Covariates included sociodemographic variables, behavioural factors, and chronic physical conditions. Serum concentrations of CRP were measured at wave 6 (2012/13). Depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and ten years later (wave 9, 2018/19), using the 8-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale. Two symptom domains were constructed, distinguishing between cognitive-affective (depressed mood, loneliness, sadness, enjoyment in life, and happiness) and somatic (sleep problems, low energy levels, and fatigue) symptoms. Mediation analyses were performed to examine whether CRP statistically mediated the associations between BMI categories and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: In multivariable-adjusted analyses, excess body weight was associated with elevated somatic (OR = 1.231, 95% CI: 1.029, 1.473), but not cognitive-affective or overall depressive symptoms at follow-up. Higher CRP was associated with elevated somatic (OR = 1.156, 95% CI: 1.061, 1.259), but not cognitive-affective or overall depressive symptoms. CRP acted as a partial mediator (14.92%) of the association between excess body weight and elevated somatic, but not cognitive-affective, or overall depressive symptoms. CONCLUSION: Systemic low-grade inflammation may partially explain the association of excess body weight with somatic depressive symptoms, but not the associations with cognitive-affective or overall depressive symptoms.

Type: Article
Title: Excess body weight and specific types of depressive symptoms: Is there a mediating role of systemic low-grade inflammation?
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.11.016
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2022.11.016
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Excess body weight, Obesity, Overweight, Inflammation, Somatic depressive symptoms, Cognitive-affective depressive symptoms, C-reactive protein, Body mass index, Mediation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10162354
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