Associations of adverse childhood experiences with chronic systemic inflammation in adulthood – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Associations of adverse childhood experiences with chronic systemic inflammation in adulthood

Christine Yu

Christine Yu

Pronouns: she/her

Research Mentor(s): Rachel Bergmans, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Institute for Social Research,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 9
Presenter: 4

Event Link


Background: Childhood trauma and adverse childhood events (ACEs) contribute to adult physical and mental health. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that explain this relationship, which could inform the development of targeted interventions. Recent research has suggested that chronic systemic inflammation and immune dysfunction may play a key mediating role between ACEs and health outcomes across the lifespan. Objectives: The goal of this project was to review existing literature in order to determine the potential for chronic systemic inflammation to explain associations of ACEs with adult health outcomes. Exposure of interest: adverse childhood experiences Outcome of interest: chronic systemic inflammation Methods: Pubmed and Scopus were searched with subject headings “˜Childhood Trauma’, “˜Adverse Childhood Experiences’, “˜Child Abuse’ cross referenced with “˜Inflammation’, “˜C-reactive protein’, “˜CRP’, “˜Interleukin’, and “˜IL-6′. A wide range of studies like literature reviews, human studies, and qualitative studies were considered. Results: Among existing studies, markers of chronic systemic inflammation included C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, fibrinogen, and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-a. Findings indicated that chronic systemic inflammation is a mechanism by which ACEs influence health outcomes in adulthood. As an example of this, Lacey and colleagues (2020) observed that specific ACEs like household dysfunction and parental loss were associated with higher levels of CRP and fibrinogen among adults aged 44-45 years. Conclusions: Chronic systemic inflammation likely plays a role in the relationship between ACEs and adult health outcomes. This project highlights the role of early-life exposures in health across the lifespan and the need for strategies that reduce the burden of ACEs. Whether systemic inflammation can be targeted to buffer against the effects of ACEs on health will require further study.

Authors: Rachel Bergmans, Christine Yu
Research Method: Library/Archival/Internet Research

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