Similar to depression, anxiety disorders have also been related to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Does inflammation provide the connection between anxiety and these physical disorders? What are the possible relationships between anxiety and inflammation?
A large cohort study analyzed the relationships between anxiety and inflammatory biomarkers among those with anxiety problems including agoraphobia, social phobia, and panic disorder (Vogelzangs et al., 2013).
The study measured inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and tumor-necrosis factor (TNF)-α (Vogelzangs et al., 2013). Higher levels of CRP were observed among the male but not female subjects.
In addition, the people who had social phobia (especially female subjects) showed decreased levels of CRP and IL-6 (Vogelzangs et al., 2013). The highest levels of CRP were observed among older persons with the onset after 50 years of age.
The study demonstrated the association between higher levels of inflammation and anxiety disorders among men (Vogelzangs et al., 2013). The connection between immune dysfunctions and anxiety may be more significant among those who have the onset of the problems at an older age. These evidences may be helpful for identifying the preventive and treatment targets for personalized medicine among patient subgroups with different gender and age.
Vogelzangs N, Beekman AT, de Jonge P, Penninx BW. Anxiety disorders and inflammation in a large adult cohort. Transl Psychiatry. 2013 Apr 23;3:e249. doi: 10.1038/tp.2013.27.