Background: Depression has been linked to increased levels of inflammatory markers in clinical studies, but results from general population samples are inconsistent. We aimed to investigate whether depression was associated with serum CRP levels in a cross-sectional analysis of a large cohort from a middle-income country.
Methods: We analyzed baseline data from 14,821 participants (35-74 years) of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). Current depression (last 7 days) was assessed by the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R). Because individuals on antidepressants could be negative on CIS-R due to their therapeutic effect, the explanatory variable had three categories: (1) negative on CIS-R and not using antidepressant (reference); (2) negative on CIS-R but using antidepressant; (3) positive on CIS-R with/without antidepressant use. Associations with CRP were investigated by general linear model (GLM).
Results: After adjustments for confounders, neither current depression, nor antidepressant use was statistically associated with elevated CRP levels. Additionally, analyzes stratified by gender, type and severity of depression did not change the results.
Limitations: The reference group in our analysis might include participants with a lifetime history of depression. Additionally, the exclusion of questions on weight fluctuation and appetite from the CIS-R applied in ELSA-Brasil may have slightly underestimated the prevalence of depression, as well as limited our ability to assess the presence of somatic symptoms.
Conclusion: This study found no association between current depression, use of antidepressants, and serum CRP levels.
Keywords: Antidepressant; CRP levels; Depression; Inflammation.
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