Objectives: In two cohorts, we aimed to establish associations between early-life adversities and adult inflammation, and whether adult (a) adiposity or (b) socioeconomic disadvantage are key intermediaries.
Methods: In both cohorts (N = 7661, 1958 British birth cohort; N = 1255, MIDUS), information was used on adult inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen and (MIDUS only) interleukin-6 (IL-6)), adiposity and socioeconomic disadvantage, and early-life adversities (neglect, emotional neglect, physical, psychological, sexual abuse and childhood disadvantage).
Results: Early-life adversities varied from 1.6% (sexual abuse, 1958 cohort) to 14.3% (socioeconomic disadvantage, MIDUS). Across the two cohorts, associations were consistent for physical abuse, e.g. 16.3%(3.01,29.7) and 17.0%(-16.4,50.3) higher CRP in the 1958 cohort and MIDUS respectively. Associations attenuated after accounting for adult adiposity, e.g. physical abuse (1958 cohort) and sexual abuse (MIDUS, non-white participants) associations were abolished. Some associations attenuated after adjustment for adult socioeconomic disadvantage; e.g. 1958 cohort neglect-CRP associations reduced from 23.2%(13.7,32.6) to 17.7%(8.18,27.2). Across the cohorts, no associations were found for psychological abuse or emotional neglect; associations for childhood socioeconomic disadvantage were inconsistent.
Conclusions: Specific early-life adversities are associated with adult inflammation; adiposity is a likely intermediary factor. Weight reduction and obesity prevention may offset pro-inflammatory related adult disease among those who experienced early-life adversities.
Keywords: Adiposity; Child abuse; Cohort study; Epidemiology; Inflammation; Neglect.
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