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Differences in the Association Between Persistent Pathogens and Mood Disorders Among Young- to Middle-Aged Women and Men in the U.S.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Amanda M. Simanek, Amy Parry, Jennifer B. Dowd

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Early online date28 Sep 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press27 Sep 2017
E-pub ahead of print28 Sep 2017

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Abstract

Background:
A growing literature supports the role of immune system alterations in the etiology of mood regulation, yet there is little population-based evidence regarding the association between persistent pathogens, inflammation and mood disorders among younger women and men in the U.S.

Methods:
We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III on individuals 15-39 years of age assessed for major depression, dysthymia, and/or bipolar disorder I and tested for cytomegalovirus (N=6825), herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 (N=5618) and/or Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) (N=3167) seropositivity as well as C-reactive protein (CRP) level (N=6788). CMV immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody level was also available for a subset of women (N=3358). We utilized logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for the association between pathogens, CRP levels and each mood disorder overall and among women and men, separately.

Results:
H. pylori seropositivity was associated with increased odds of dysthymia (OR 2.37, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07, 5.24) among women, but decreased odds among men (OR 0.51, 95% CI: 0.28, 0.92). CMV seropositivity was also associated with lower odds of depression (OR 0.54, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.91) among men, while elevated CMV IgG level was marginally associated with increased odds of mood disorders among women. Associations were not mediated by CRP level.

Conclusions:
Our findings suggest that persistent pathogens such as CMV and H. pylori may differentially influence mood disorders among women and men, warranting further investigation into biological and/or sociocultural explanations for the contrasting associations observed.

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