Childhood trauma, inflammatory biomarkers and the presence of a current depressive episode: Is there a relationship in subjects from a population study?
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This study aims to compare the serum cytokine levels between controls, individuals with a current depressive episode (CDE) with childhood trauma and individuals with CDE without childhood trauma. This is a cross-sectional with paired sample nested in a population-based study. For the purposes of the current study, subjects who had psychotic symptoms, generalized anxiety disorder, and who refused to perform blood collection were excluded. Subsequently, only individuals who had a current depressive episode were selected (n = 76). Another 76 subjects were randomly paired by sex and age, constituting a population control group. The measurements of serum cytokine levels were performed using the multiplex analysis method. In the group with a CDE, when compared to the population control group, the following cytokines were high: IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-17A, IFN-γ and TNF-α (p < 0.05). On the other hand, there was a decrease in the levels of cytokines IL-10 (p = 0.027) and IL12p70 (p = 0.001). Bonferroni test demonstrates that there is no statistically significant difference in serum cytokine levels between subjects with a CDE, with and without trauma (p > 0.05). In a multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for socioeconomic status, tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs abuse/dependence, and use of psychiatric medication, we found that cytokines serum levels remained associated with CDE even when adjusted for these potential confounders. Our findings demonstrate that monitoring cytokine levels and immune function may be beneficial in preventing the development of a CDE. However, future research is necessary to investigate the impact of trauma on the relationship between inflammation and CDE.