Inflammation as a transdiagnostic factor in the development of psychopathology and somatic symptoms


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    This dissertation focuses on the role of inflammation in the development of psychopathology and
    somatic symptoms. Our question was whether different types of stressors lead to the development of psychiatric or somatic symptoms via an activated immune system. We have focused on herpes infections, childhood trauma and sleep as stressors that might be related to both inflammation and psychiatric and somatic symptoms.
    We studied associations in a large group of adolescents from the TRAILS cohort. We performed a clinical study to study whether inhibiting virus activity has an effect on inflammation in the brain. In a small group of 10 participants, we focused on the link between sleep, inflammation and somatic symptoms, by following them for 63 days with diary measurements.
    We found no evidence for our hypothesis that stressors lead to psychiatric or somatic symptoms via inflammation. Herpes simplex type 1 infection was associated with decreased cognitive functioning. CRP level was associated with specific somatic symptoms. We found that stressful childhood life events were associated with higher CRP levels and with psychiatric symptoms. We found that virus inhibitors improved neuroinflammation, but not symptoms. And we found that there were large individual differences in the relationship between sleep, inflammation, and somatic symptoms.
    Our findings could suggest that stressors are a common cause of inflammation and psychiatric or somatic symptoms, but that inflammation does not explain the association between stressors and psychiatric or somatic symptoms.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Schoevers, Robert, Supervisor
    • Rosmalen, Judith, Supervisor
    Datum van toekenning4-jul.-2022
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-90-832556-0-6
    StatusPublished - 2022

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