Original Article | Published:

Depression, daily stressors and inflammatory responses to high-fat meals: when stress overrides healthier food choices

Molecular Psychiatry volume 22, pages 476482 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Depression, stress and diet can all alter inflammation. This double-blind, randomized crossover study addressed the impact of daily stressors and a history of major depressive disorder (MDD) on inflammatory responses to high-fat meals. During two separate 9.5 h admissions, 58 healthy women (38 breast cancer survivors and 20 demographically similar controls), mean age 53.1 years, received either a high saturated fat meal or a high oleic sunflower oil meal. The Daily Inventory of Stressful Events assessed prior day stressors and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV evaluated MDD. As expected, for a woman with no prior day stressors, C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) were higher following the saturated fat meal than the high oleic sunflower oil meal after controlling for pre-meal measures, age, trunk fat and physical activity. But if a woman had prior day stressors, these meal-related differences disappeared—because the stressors heightened CRP, SAA, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 responses to the sunflower oil meal, making it look more like the responses to the saturated fat meal. In addition, women with an MDD history had higher post-meal blood pressure responses than those without a similar history. These data show how recent stressors and an MDD history can reverberate through metabolic alterations, promoting inflammatory and atherogenic responses.

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Acknowledgements

The study was supported in part by NIH grants CA154054, CA172296, UL1TRR025755 and CA016058. The sponsor had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review or approval of the manuscript. We are grateful to Michael Di Gregorio, MA, for his role as a key organizer and experimenter, and to Bryon Laskowski for laboratory analyses.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

    • J K Kiecolt-Glaser
    • , W B Malarkey
    •  & M A Belury
  2. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

    • J K Kiecolt-Glaser
  3. Department of Psychology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA

    • C P Fagundes
  4. Department of Symptoms Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

    • C P Fagundes
  5. Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

    • R Andridge
  6. Center for Biostatistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

    • J Peng
  7. Department of Medicine, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA

    • W B Malarkey
  8. Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA

    • D Habash
  9. Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

    • M A Belury

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Competing interests

NIH has funded work by JK-G, WBM, CPF and MAB. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J K Kiecolt-Glaser.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2016.149