Linking stressful life events and chronic inflammation using suPAR (soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor)

Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Oct;97:79-88. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.06.018. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Abstract

Stressful life events have been linked to declining health, and inflammation has been proposed as a physiological mechanism that might explain this association. Using 828 participants from the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, we tested whether people who experienced more stressful life events during adulthood would show elevated systemic inflammation when followed up in midlife, at age 45. We studied three inflammatory biomarkers: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and a newer biomarker, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), which is thought to index systemic chronic inflammation. Stressful life events were not associated with CRP or IL-6. However, people who experienced more stressful life events from age 38 to 44 had elevated suPAR at age 45, and had significantly greater increases in suPAR from baseline to follow-up across the same period. When examining stressful life events across the lifespan, both adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adult stressful life events were independently associated with suPAR at age 45. ACEs moderated the association of adult stressful life events and suPAR at age 45-children with more ACEs showed higher suPAR levels after experiencing stressful life events as adults. The results suggest systemic chronic inflammation is one physiological mechanism that could link stressful life events and health, and support the use of suPAR as a useful biomarker for such research.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experiences; C-reactive protein; Inflammatory biomarkers; Interleukin-6; Stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator*

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • C-Reactive Protein