Evidence for chronic low-grade systemic inflammation in individuals with agoraphobia from a population-based prospective study.

Wagner, En-Young; Wagner, Jan T; Glaus, Jennifer; Vandeleur, Caroline L; Castelao, Enrique; Strippoli, Marie-Pierre F; Vollenweider, Peter; Preisig, Martin; von Känel, Roland (2015). Evidence for chronic low-grade systemic inflammation in individuals with agoraphobia from a population-based prospective study. PLoS ONE, 10(4), e0123757. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0123757

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BACKGROUND Anxiety disorders have been linked to an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease in which inflammation plays a key pathogenic role. To date, no studies have looked at the association between proinflammatory markers and agoraphobia. METHODS In a random Swiss population sample of 2890 persons (35-67 years, 53% women), we diagnosed a total of 124 individuals (4.3%) with agoraphobia using a validated semi-structured psychiatric interview. We also assessed socioeconomic status, traditional cardiovascular risk factors (i.e., body mass index, hypertension, blood glucose levels, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ratio), and health behaviors (i.e., smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity), and other major psychiatric diseases (other anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, drug dependence) which were treated as covariates in linear regression models. Circulating levels of inflammatory markers, statistically controlled for the baseline demographic and health-related measures, were determined at a mean follow-up of 5.5 ± 0.4 years (range 4.7 - 8.5). RESULTS Individuals with agoraphobia had significantly higher follow-up levels of C-reactive protein (p = 0.007) and tumor-necrosis-factor-α (p = 0.042) as well as lower levels of the cardioprotective marker adiponectin (p = 0.032) than their non-agoraphobic counterparts. Follow-up levels of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 did not significantly differ between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest an increase in chronic low-grade inflammation in agoraphobia over time. Such a mechanism might link agoraphobia with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, and needs to be tested in longitudinal studies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology > Centre of Competence for Psychosomatic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Wagner, En-Young


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Annette Barbara Kocher

Date Deposited:

03 Mar 2016 16:20

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2017 11:37

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