The relationship between anxiety and inflammation has been analyzed in several studies conducted since the turn of this century. The findings indicate elevations in key markers and triggers of inflammation, such as C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and some cytokines.
What is Fear?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry and fear in everyday situations. It is a very normal thing, even most people will feel anxious about a certain situation at some point in their life.
However, in those who have an anxiety disorder, this feeling is intense, persistent and much more frequent, which can interfere with their daily routine.
Anxiety disorders are common, so much so that in 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 3.6%, that is, about 64 million people of the world’s population, suffered from this condition.
The etiology of anxiety is unknown, but some likely causal factors include hyperactivity in certain brain regions, neurochemical imbalance, genetic factors, trauma, personality traits, chronic pain, and substance abuse.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to harmful stimuli, such as injuries, irritants or pathogens.
Cytokines are small regulatory proteins, within which pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins are present, and therefore they modulate the immune system and its function and together with other substances determine the inflammatory response.
This process is triggered as a protective response, which aims to get rid of these stimuli, but if the inflammation persists, it can damage the cells and tissues in which it is installed.
Because the inflammatory response also occurs in the brain, current research is focused on whether chronic inflammation of the nervous system can influence the development of mental disorders.
When examining the inflammatory response, we found that inflammatory markers include C-Reactive Protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha ((TNF-α).
The PCR It is an acute phase reactant of hepatic synthesis and is released in response to acute inflammation. Its main function is to bind to markers present in dead cells or microorganisms.
PCR, by binding to its target cell, helps the system increase the immune cells’ ability to clear pathogens and dead cells.
The IL-6 and TNF-α Cytokines they are proteins that act as intercellular messengers in addition to promoting the inflammatory response.
What are the symptoms of inflammation?
The 5 signs and symptoms that characterize a acute inflammation they are erythema, heat, inflammation, pain and functional impotence (inability to move the affected area). The latter is due to pain, which limits the mobility of the affected area.
Also in the Chronic infection, which persists over time, is quieter and very dangerous, shows 8 clinical manifestations: general fatigue, localized pain in the affected area or generalized pain, fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, digestive disorders, rashes and mouth ulcers.
Relationship between anxiety and inflammation
Anxiety disorders are characterized by an elevated state of mental anxiety, tachycardia and tachi apnea. But they can also be associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and metabolic disorders.
Since these pathologies involve a low rate of systemic inflammation, and because depression is often associated with anxiety disorders, some scientists suggest a link between anxiety and inflammation.
In recent years, there have been several studies reinforcing the relationship between anxiety and inflammation, in which scientists evaluated a variety of inflammatory and clotting markers (CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α) in a group of participants, looking for a link between the degree of fear experienced and the values of these markers.
They noted that higher anxiety scores were associated with higher levels of CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α in men and with higher CRP and IL-6 levels in women.
In a small study of the Journal of Psychiatric Research, the links between inflammation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were examined, where they concluded that patients with PTSD exhibited a low-intensity systemic pro-inflammatory state associated with an increase in IL-6, TNF-α and other markers of inflammation.
An analysis of women with type 2 diabetes mellitus suffering from phobic anxiety found a link between the appetite-regulating hormone called leptin, and ignition markers.
A systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Depression and anxiety, analyzed data from 41 relevant studies, of which the researchers also found an association between anxiety and inflammation, particularly in PTSD.
Experimental inflammatory response
The evidence that people with anxiety disorders are more likely to have inflammation does not necessarily mean that anxiety and inflammation cause each other or that inflammation increases the risk of anxiety.
To investigate this point, a group of scientists analyzed whether the induction of an inflammatory condition increased anxiety.
To cause inflammation, they injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into a group of volunteers. LPS is part of the cell membrane of a type of bacteria that can trigger an inflammatory response.
The team of researchers found that as the values of inflammatory markers increased, so did feelings of anxiety.
An animal study, in which scientists caused gastrointestinal inflammation in mice, found that these animals developed anxious behavior.
In the same study, when researchers gave them the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium longum, they managed to reverse the behavioral change.
The latter finding is related to the evidence found around gut flora, anxiety and inflammation.
With information obtained from Medical news today Y Medigraphically