Mon Sep 04 2023

Study: Linking Stressful Life Events and Chronic Inflammation Using suPAR (Soluble Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor)

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, the scientist tested whether people who experienced more stressful life events during adulthood would show elevated systemic inflammation when followed up in midlife, at age 45.

Background: Given that suPAR appears to index chronic inflammation when accounting for other measures of inflammation, it presents the opportunity to examine the association between difficult life experiences and inflammation across the lifespan—e.g., from childhood to midlife—rather than focusing exclusively on recent stressful events.

Discussion: The findings indicated that people who experienced a greater number of stressful life events evidenced higher midlife systemic inflammation, in the form of elevated suPAR. These associations included both suPAR levels at age 45, as well as increases in suPAR from age 38 to 45. In contrast, no associations were observed between stressful life events and CRP or IL-6 (Find the inflammatory biomarkers compared booklet here). The results suggest that systemic chronic inflammation as assessed by suPAR warrants more attention in the study of stressful life events and ill health.

Conclusion: suPAR could be a particularly useful inflammatory biomarker with which to investigate the association between chronic stressors and systemic inflammation. The association between stressful life events and inflammation was particularly strong among people who had experienced ACEs in childhood, suggesting that the timing of stressful life events across the lifespan has relevance to inflammation in midlife.


published suPAR studies in leading medical journals

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