Elevation of C-reactive protein in adolescent bipolar disorder vs. anxiety disorders

J Psychiatr Res. 2022 Dec;156:308-317. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.09.019. Epub 2022 Sep 21.


Bipolar disorder (BD) largely begins in adolescence, but diagnosis lags for years, causing significant morbidity and mortality, and demonstrating the need for better diagnostic tools. Suggesting an association between BD and immune activity, elevated levels of peripheral inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), have been found in adults with BD. As similar data are extremely limited in adolescents, this study examined CRP levels in adolescents with BD (n = 37) compared to those with anxiety disorders (ADs, n = 157) and healthy controls with no psychiatric diagnoses (HCs, n = 2760). CRP blood levels for patients aged 12-17 years were retrieved from a nationwide repository of deidentified clinical data. After excluding patients with inflammatory conditions, differences in CRP were examined using multivariate and weighted regressions (covariates: demographics and BMI). Mean CRP levels were significantly elevated in adolescents with BD relative to those with ADs and HCs. Mean CRP levels were lower in the ADs cohort versus HCs. Although CRP levels were significantly higher in males and younger patients, the significant between-cohort differences in CRP remained after controlling for multiple confounders. To our knowledge, our study is the first to compare CRP levels between adolescent BD, ADs, and HCs, comprising a novel and essential contribution. Our results suggest the presence of a unique immune process in adolescents with BD and indicate that CRP may represent a biomarker with a crucial role in the diagnostic assessment of adolescent BD.

Keywords: Adolescent; Anxiety; Biomarker; Bipolar disorder; C-reactive protein; Immune dysregulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder*
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Humans


  • C-Reactive Protein