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1.  Partial Sleep Deprivation Activates the DNA Damage Response (DDR) and the Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP) in Aged Adult Humans 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2015;51:223-229.
Age-related disease risk has been linked to short sleep duration and sleep disturbances; however, the specific molecular pathways linking sleep loss with diseases of aging are poorly defined. Key cellular events seen with aging, which are thought to contribute to disease, may be particularly sensitive to sleep loss. We tested whether one night of partial sleep deprivation (PSD) would increase leukocyte gene expression indicative of DNA damage responses (DDR), the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), and senescence indicator p16INK4a in older adult humans, who are at increased risk for cellular senescence. Community-dwelling older adults aged 61-86 years (n=29; 48% male) underwent an experimental partial sleep deprivation (PSD) protocol over 4 nights, including adaptation, an uninterrupted night of sleep, partial sleep deprivation (sleep restricted 3 AM to 7 AM), and a subsequent full night of sleep. Blood samples were obtained each morning to assess peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression using Illumina HT-12 arrays. Analyses of microarray results revealed that SASP (p < .05) and DDR (p = .08) gene expression were elevated from baseline to PSD nights. Gene expression changes were also observed from baseline to PSD in NFKB2, NBS1 and CHK2 (all p's < .05). The senescence marker p16INK4a (CDKN2A) was increased one day after PSD compared to baseline (p < .01), however confirmatory RT-PCR did not replicate this finding. One night of partial sleep deprivation activates PBMC gene expression patterns consistent with biological aging in this older adult sample. PSD enhanced the SASP and increased the accumulation of damage that initiates cell cycle arrest and promotes cellular senescence. These findings causally link sleep deprivation to the molecular processes associated with biological aging.
PMCID: PMC4679552  PMID: 26336034
older adults; sleep deprivation; cellular aging; senescence; DNA damage; inflammation; gene expression
2.  Trait sensitivity to social disconnection enhances pro-inflammatory responses to a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2015;62:336-342.
One proposed mechanism for the association between social isolation and poor health outcomes is inflammation. Lonely or socially disconnected individuals show greater inflammatory responses, including up-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression, and people who are sensitive to cues of social disconnection (e.g., high levels of anxious attachment) exhibit greater inflammation in response to psychological stress. However, no studies have examined how sensitivity to social disconnection may influence pro-inflammatory responses to an inflammatory challenge. In the present study, we investigated the impact of sensitivity to social disconnection (a composite score comprised of loneliness, anxious attachment, fear of negative evaluation, and rejection sensitivity) on pro-inflammatory cytokines and gene expression in response to endotoxin, an inflammatory challenge, vs. placebo in a sample of one hundred and fifteen (n=115) healthy participants. Results showed that those who are more sensitive to social disconnection show increased pro-inflammatory responses (i.e., increased levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6) to endotoxin, as well as up-regulation of multiple genes related to inflammation. Furthermore, bioinformatics analyses revealed that those in the endotoxin group who are more sensitive to social disconnection exhibited a conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) regulatory profile, involving up-regulation of beta-adrenergic and pro-inflammatory transcription control pathways and down-regulation of antiviral transcription factors in response to endotoxin. These results may ultimately have implications for understanding the links between social isolation, inflammation, and health.
PMCID: PMC4637264  PMID: 26360770
inflammation; loneliness; endotoxin; cytokines; rejection sensitivity; social genomics
3.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Tai Chi Reverse Cellular and Genomic Markers of Inflammation in Late Life Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Biological psychiatry  2015;78(10):721-729.
Sleep disturbance is associated with activation of systemic and cellular inflammation, as well as pro-inflammatory transcriptional profiles in circulating leukocytes. Whether treatments that target insomnia-related complaints might reverse these markers of inflammation in older adults with insomnia is not known.
In this randomized trial, 123 older adults with insomnia were randomly assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), tai chi chih (TCC), or sleep seminar education active control condition (SS) for two hour sessions weekly over 4 months with follow-up at 7- and 16-months. We measured C-reactive protein (CRP) at baseline, month 4 and 16, Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4)-activated monocyte production of proinflammatory cytokines at baseline, month 2, 4, 7, and 16, and genome-wide transcriptional profiling at baseline and month 4.
As compared to SS active control, CBT-I reduced levels of CRP (month 4, 16, P’s<0.05), monocyte production of proinflammatory cytokines (month 2 only, P<0.05), and pro-inflammatory gene expression (month 4, P<0.01). TCC marginally reduced CRP (month 4, P=0.06), and significantly reduced monocyte production of proinflammatory cytokines (month 2, 4, 7, 16, all P’s<0.05) and proinflammatory gene expression (month 4, P<0.001). In CBT and TCC, TELIS promoter-based bioinformatics analyses indicated reduced activity of nuclear factor (NF)-κB and AP1.
Among older adults with insomnia, CBT-I reduced systemic inflammation, TCC reduced cellular inflammatory responses, and both treatments reduced expression of genes encoding proinflammatory mediators. The findings provide an evidence-based molecular framework to understand the potential salutary effects of insomnia treatment on inflammation, with implications for inflammatory disease risk.
PMCID: PMC4524803  PMID: 25748580
Insomnia; Inflammation; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Tai Chi; Gene expression; Aging
4.  Inflammatory Markers and Chronic Exposure to Fluoxetine, Divalproex, and Placebo In Intermittent Explosive Disorder 
Psychiatry research  2015;229(3):844-849.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is a disorder of impulsive aggression affecting 4-7% of the U.S. population during some period of life. In addition to other biological correlates, elevations of plasma inflammatory markers have been reported in IED, compared with control, subjects. In this study we sought to explore if treatment exposure to anti-aggressive agents, compared with placebo, would be associated with a reduction in circulating levels of inflammatory markers. Thirty IED subjects, from a twelve-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of fluoxetine and divalproex, in which both pre- and post-treatment levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were obtained. Efficacy measures included the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified (OAS-M) score for Aggression and for Irritability, rate of Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I), and rate of IED Remitters at study completion. As compared to placebo, neither fluoxetine nor divalproex reduced any of the measures of aggression. In addition, levels of CRP and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines showed no changes from pre- to post-treatment for any treatment condition. Correlations between pre- and post- treatment plasma CRP/cytokines were substantial (mean r = 0.71, r2 = 0.50, p < 0.001). Overall, circulating markers of inflammation markers were unaffected by treatment with fluoxetine or divalproex, consistent with the absence of change in measures of impulsive aggression.
PMCID: PMC4837655  PMID: 26277033
Aggression; Inflammation; Fluoxetine; Divalproex
5.  Asthma-Related Immune Responses in Youth With Asthma: Associations With Maternal Responsiveness and Expressions of Positive and Negative Affect in Daily Life 
Psychosomatic medicine  2015;77(8):892-902.
Stressful family environments early in life have negative effects on physical health. However, less is known about the health effects of positive aspects of families. We examined the associations between maternal responsiveness and immune markers among youth with asthma and identified youth expressions of positive affect as a potential mechanism of these associations.
Forty-three youths with asthma (26 males; aged 10-17) wore the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) for four days to assess maternal responsiveness and youth expressions of affect from audio-recordings of daily life. Trained coders rated EAR sound files for expressions of maternal responsiveness and affect displayed by the youth. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated, cultured, and assayed to determine stimulated levels of interleukin(IL)-5, IL-13, and interferon(IFN)- γ.
Greater maternal responsiveness was associated with decreased stimulated production of IL-5 (r = −.38, p = .012) and IL-13 (r = −.33, p = .031). Greater total positive affect in youth was linked with decreased stimulated production of IL-5 (r = −.46, p = .002) and IL-13 (r = −.37, p = .014). Total negative affect among youth was unrelated to immune responses. There was a significant indirect effect of maternal responsiveness via positive affect in youth on lower levels of IL-5 (95% CI = −3.41, −.03) and IL-13 (95% CI = −2.34, −.01) when adjusting for caregiver-youth conflict and negative affect among youth.
These results indicate the importance of positive family interactions for youth and provide preliminary evidence for a mechanism through which parenting can influence immune responses in youths with asthma.
PMCID: PMC4641672  PMID: 26407226
Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR); Inflammation; Positive affect; Maternal responsiveness; Asthma; Health
6.  Exposure to an Inflammatory Challenge Enhances Neural Sensitivity to Negative and Positive Social Feedback 
Inflammation, part of the body’s innate immune response, can lead to “sickness behaviors,” as well as alterations in social and affective experiences. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been associated with increased neural sensitivity to social rejection and social threat, but also decreased neural sensitivity to rewards. However, recent evidence suggests that inflammation may actually enhance sensitivity to certain social rewards, such as those that signal support and care. Despite a growing interest in how inflammation influences neural reactivity to positive and negative social experiences, no known studies have investigated these processes in the same participants, using a similar task. To examine this issue, 107 participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or low-dose endotoxin, which safely triggers an inflammatory response. When levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were at their peak, participants were scanned using fMRI while they received positive, negative, and neutral feedback from an “evaluator” (actually a confederate) about how they came across in an audio-recorded interview. In response to negative feedback (vs. neutral), participants in the endotoxin condition showed heightened neural activity in a number of threat-related neural regions (i.e., bilateral amygdala, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) and a key mentalizing-related region (i.e., dorsomedial PFC), compared to placebo participants. Interestingly, when receiving positive feedback (vs. neutral), endotoxin led to greater neural activity in the ventral striatum and ventromedial PFC, regions often implicated in processing reward, compared to placebo. Together, these results reveal that individuals exposed to an inflammatory challenge are more “neurally sensitive” to both negative and positive social feedback, suggesting that inflammation may lead to a greater vigilance for both social threats and social rewards.
PMCID: PMC5011017  PMID: 27032568
inflammation; endotoxin; cytokines; social feedback; fMRI; threat; reward
7.  Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing: a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2015;48:132-138.
Neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., autism, schizophrenia) are partially characterized by social cognitive deficits, including impairments in the ability to perceive others’ emotional states, which is an aspect of social cognition known as theory of mind (ToM). There is also evidence that inflammation may be implicated in the etiology of these disorders, but experimental data linking inflammation to deficits in social cognition is sparse. Thus, we examined whether exposure to an experimental inflammatory challenge led to changes in ToM. One hundred and fifteen (n=115) healthy participants were randomly assigned to receive either endotoxin, which is an inflammatory challenge, or placebo. Participants completed a social cognition task, the Reading the Mind in the Eyes (RME) test, at baseline and at the peak of inflammatory response for the endotoxin group. The RME test, a validated measure of ToM, evaluates how accurately participants can identify the emotional state of another person by looking only at their eyes. We found that endotoxin (vs. placebo) led to decreases in performance on the RME test from baseline to the peak of inflammatory response, indicating that acute inflammation can lead to decreases in the ability to accurately and reliably comprehend emotional information from others. Given that deficits in ToM are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders, including those which may have an inflammatory basis, these results may have implications for understanding the links between inflammation, social cognition, and neuropsychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC4508216  PMID: 25770082
inflammation; social cognition; endotoxin; theory of mind; cytokines; Mind in the Eyes
8.  Inflammatory Biomarkers, Comorbidity, and Neurocognition in Women With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer 
Neurocognitive dysfunction is reported in women with breast cancer even prior to receipt of adjuvant therapy; however, there is little understanding of underlying mechanisms. We tested the hypothesis that pretreatment neurocognitive dysfunction in newly diagnosed patients is related to immunological activation, as indexed by pro-inflammatory cytokines.
One hundred seventy-four postmenopausal patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation (assessment of cognitive function, mood, and fatigue) and measurement of key cytokine levels prior to surgery. Age-matched control participants without cancer were evaluated concurrently. Multivariable regression analyses examined the contribution of circulating Interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), and soluble TNF receptor type two (sTNF-RII) in predicting neurocognitive performance in patients after controlling for key factors thought to impact functioning. All tests of statistical significance were two-sided.
Memory performance was statistically significantly reduced, in patients compared with controls (P = .02). Of the three cytokines measured, only IL-1ra was statistically significantly elevated in cancer patients when compared with control participants (mean ± SD, 375 ± 239 pg/mL vs 291 ± 169 pg/mL, P = .007). After controlling for age, education, race, mood, fatigue, body mass index, and comorbidity, cytokines independently explained 6.0% of the total variance in memory performance (P = .01) in cancer patients but not control participants, with higher sTNF-RII associated with worse functioning. Exploratory analyses found that comorbidity statistically significantly explained variance in processing speed and executive functioning (P = .03 and P = .03, respectively).
An association of TNF with memory, previously reported in patients after exposure to chemotherapy, was found prior to initiation of any treatment, including surgery. This association requires further investigation as sTNF-RII was not higher in cancer patients relative to control participants.
PMCID: PMC4609551  PMID: 26101331
9.  Sleep Loss Activates Cellular Inflammation and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) Family Proteins in Humans 
Sleep disturbance and short sleep duration are associated with inflammation and related disorders including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and certain cancers. This study was undertaken to test the effects of experimental sleep loss on spontaneous cellular inflammation and activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family proteins, which together promote an inflammatory microenvironment. In 24 healthy adults (16 females; 8 males), spontaneous production of IL-6 and TNF in monocytes and spontaneous intranuclear expression of activated STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), monocyte-, and lymphocyte populations were measured in the morning after uninterrupted baseline sleep, partial sleep deprivation (PSD, sleep period from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.), and recovery sleep. Relative to baseline, spontaneous monocytic expression of IL-6 and TNF-α was significantly greater after PSD (P<0.02) and after recovery sleep (P<0.01). Relative to baseline, spontaneous monocytic expression of activated STAT 1 and STAT 5 was significantly greater after recovery sleep (P<0.007P<0.02, respectively) but not STAT 3 (P=0.09). No changes in STAT1, STAT3, or STAT5 were found in lymphocyte populations. Sleep loss induces activation of spontaneous cellular innate immunity and of STAT family proteins, which together map the dynamics of sleep loss on the molecular signaling pathways that regulate inflammatory and other immune responses. Treatments that target short sleep duration have the potential to constrain inflammation and reduce the risk for inflammatory disorders and some cancers in humans.
PMCID: PMC4401620  PMID: 25451613
Sleep; Inflammation; Immunology; Sleep deprivation; Interleukin-6; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha; Signal transducer and activator of transcription; Flow cytometry; Humans; Monocytes
10.  Sex Differences in Depressive and Socioemotional Responses to an Inflammatory Challenge: Implications for Sex Differences in Depression 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2015;40(7):1709-1716.
Substantial evidence demonstrates that inflammatory processes may underlie depression for a subset of patients, including work showing that healthy subjects exposed to an inflammatory challenge show increases in depressed mood and feelings of social disconnection. However, despite the fact that depression is two times as likely to occur in females than males, the vast majority of this work has been carried out in males. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine whether females (vs males) would show greater increases in proinflammatory cytokines, depressed mood, and social disconnection in response to an inflammatory challenge. One hundred and fifteen healthy participants (69 female) completed this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in which participants were randomly assigned to receive either a single infusion of low-dose endotoxin (derived from Escherichia coli; 0.8 ng/kg of body weight) or placebo (same volume of 0.9% saline). Interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), depressed mood, and feelings of social disconnection were assessed hourly. Results showed that endotoxin (vs placebo) led to increases in proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6), depressed mood, and feelings of social disconnection. Females exposed to endotoxin showed greater increases in depressed mood and feelings of social disconnection. Furthermore, increases in TNF-α and IL-6 were correlated with increases in social disconnection for females but not for males. These sex differences in the relationships between inflammatory and socioemotional responses to an inflammatory challenge may be particularly important for understanding why females are two times as likely as males to develop depressive disorders.
PMCID: PMC4915253  PMID: 25598426
11.  Associations of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) Risk With Autoimmune Conditions According to Putative NHL Loci 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2015;181(6):406-421.
Autoimmune conditions and immune system–related genetic variations are associated with risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In a pooled analysis of 8,692 NHL cases and 9,260 controls from 14 studies (1988–2007) within the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium, we evaluated the interaction between immune system genetic variants and autoimmune conditions in NHL risk. We evaluated the immunity-related single nucleotide polymorphisms rs1800629 (tumor necrosis factor gene (TNF) G308A), rs1800890 (interleukin-10 gene (IL10) T3575A), rs6457327 (human leukocyte antigen gene (HLA) class I), rs10484561 (HLA class II), and rs2647012 (HLA class II)) and categorized autoimmune conditions as primarily mediated by B-cell or T-cell responses. We constructed unconditional logistic regression models to measure associations between autoimmune conditions and NHL with stratification by genotype. Autoimmune conditions mediated by B-cell responses were associated with increased NHL risk, specifically diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (odds ratio (OR) = 3.11, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.25, 4.30) and marginal zone lymphoma (OR = 5.80, 95% CI: 3.82, 8.80); those mediated by T-cell responses were associated with peripheral T-cell lymphoma (OR = 2.14, 95% CI: 1.35, 3.38). In the presence of the rs1800629 AG/AA genotype, B-cell-mediated autoimmune conditions increased NHL risk (OR = 3.27, 95% CI: 2.07, 5.16; P-interaction = 0.03) in comparison with the GG genotype (OR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.31, 2.53). This interaction was consistent across major B-cell NHL subtypes, including marginal zone lymphoma (P-interaction = 0.02) and follicular lymphoma (P-interaction = 0.04).
PMCID: PMC4402340  PMID: 25713336
autoimmune conditions; environment; genetics; interaction; human leukocyte antigen; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; tumor necrosis factor
12.  Opioid treatment of experimental pain activates nuclear factor-κB 
Journal of opioid management  2015;11(2):115-125.
To determine the independent and combined effects of pain and opioids on the activation of an early marker of inflammation, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB).
NF-κB activation was compared within-subjects following four randomly ordered experimental sessions of opioid-only (intravenous fentanyl 1 μg/kg), pain-only (cold-pressor), opioid + pain, and a resting condition.
University General Clinical Research Center.
Twenty-one (11 female) healthy controls.
Following exposure to treatment (fentanyl administration and/or cold-pressor pain), blood samples for NF-kB analysis were obtained.
Main outcome measures
Intracellular levels of activated NF-κB, in unstimulated and stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells at 15 and 30 minutes.
Neither pain nor opioid administration alone effected NF-κB levels in cell populations; however, the combination of treatments induced significant increases of NF-κB in stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell, lymphocytes, and monocytes.
The combination of acute pain with opioids, as occurs in clinical situations, activates a key transcription factor involved in proinflammatory responses.
PMCID: PMC4507428  PMID: 25901477
pain; opioids; NF-κB; cold-pressor test; fentanyl
13.  The role of the ventral striatum in inflammatory-induced approach toward support figures 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2014;44:247-252.
Although considerable research has shown that inflammation leads to social withdrawal more generally, it is also possible that inflammation leads to social approach when it comes to close others. Whereas it may be adaptive to withdraw from strangers when sick, it may be beneficial to seek out close others for assistance, protection, or care when sick. However, this possibility has never been explored in humans nor have the neural substrates of these behavioral changes. Based on the role of the ventral striatum (VS) in responding to: (1) the anticipation of and motivation to approach rewarding outcomes and (2) viewing social support figures, the VS may also be involved in sickness-induced approach toward support figures. Thus, the goal of the present study was to examine whether inflammation leads to a greater desire to approach support figures and greater VS activity to viewing support figures. To examine this, 63 participants received either placebo or low-dose endotoxin, which safely triggers an inflammatory response. Participants reported how much they desired to be around a self-identified support figure, and viewed pictures of that support figure while undergoing an fMRI scan to assess reward-related neural activity. In line with hypotheses, endotoxin (vs. placebo) led participants to report a greater desire to be around their support figure. In addition, endotoxin (vs. placebo) led to greater VS activity to images of support figures (vs. strangers) and greater increases in inflammation (IL-6 levels) were associated with greater increases in VS activity. Together, these results reveal a possible neural mechanism important for sickness-induced social approach and highlight the need for a more nuanced view of changes in social behavior during sickness.
PMCID: PMC4275369  PMID: 25459101
inflammation; social support; close relationships; functional magnetic resonance imaging; cytokines; social approach
14.  Inaccuracy of haemoglobin A1c among HIV-infected men: effects of CD4 cell count, antiretroviral therapies and haematological parameters 
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy  2014;69(12):3360-3367.
There is limited evidence that among HIV-infected patients haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) values may not accurately reflect glycaemia. We assessed HbA1c discordance (observed HbA1c − expected HbA1c) and associated factors among HIV-infected participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS).
Fasting glucose (FG) and HbA1c were measured at each semi-annual MACS visit since 1999. All HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men for whom at least one FG and HbA1c pair measurement was available were evaluated. Univariate median regression determined the association between HbA1c and FG by HIV serostatus. The relationship between HbA1c and FG in HIV-uninfected men was used to determine the expected HbA1c. Generalized estimating equations determined factors associated with the Hb1Ac discordance among HIV-infected men. Clinically significant discordance was defined as observed HbA1c − expected HbA1c ≤−0.5%.
Over 13 years, 1500 HIV-uninfected and 1357 HIV-infected men were included, with a median of 11 visits for each participant. At an FG of 125 mg/dL, the median HbA1c among HIV-infected men was 0.21% lower than among HIV-uninfected men and the magnitude of this effect increased with FG >126 mg/dL. Sixty-three percent of HIV-infected men had at least one visit with clinically significant HbA1c discordance, which was independently associated with: low CD4 cell count (<500 cells/mm3); a regimen containing a protease inhibitor, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or zidovudine; high mean corpuscular volume; and abnormal corpuscular haemoglobin.
HbA1c underestimates glycaemia in HIV-infected patients and its use in patients with risk factors for HbA1c discordance may lead to under-diagnosis and to under-treatment of established diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4228777  PMID: 25096078
HbA1c; diabetes; mean corpuscular volume; glycosylated haemoglobin; HIV
15.  Tai Chi, Cellular Inflammation, and Transcriptome Dynamics in Breast Cancer Survivors With Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Mind–body therapies such as Tai Chi are widely used by breast cancer survivors, yet effects on inflammation are not known. This study hypothesized that Tai Chi Chih (TCC) would reduce systemic, cellular, and genomic markers of inflammation as compared with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).
In this randomized trial for the treatment of insomnia, 90 breast cancer survivors with insomnia were assigned to TCC or CBT-I for 2-hour sessions weekly for 3 months. At baseline and postintervention, blood samples were obtained for measurement of C-reactive protein and toll-like receptor-4–activated monocyte production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF), with a random subsample (n = 48) analyzed by genome-wide transcriptional profiling.
Levels of C-reactive protein did not change in the TCC and CBT-I groups. Levels of toll-like receptor-4–activated monocyte production of IL-6 and TNF combined showed an overall reduction in TCC versus CBT-I (P < .02), with similar effects for IL-6 (P = .07) and TNF (P < .05) alone. For genome-wide transcriptional profiling of circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells, expression of genes encoding proinflammatory mediators showed an overall reduction in TCC versus CBT-I (P = .001). TELiS promoter-based bioinformatics analyses implicated a reduction of activity of the proinflammatory transcription factor, nuclear factor-κB, in structuring these differences.
Among breast cancer survivors with insomnia, 3 months of TCC reduced cellular inflammatory responses, and reduced expression of genes encoding proinflammatory mediators. Given the link between inflammation and cancer, these findings provide an evidence-based molecular framework to understand the potential salutary effects of TCC on cancer survivorship.
PMCID: PMC4411534  PMID: 25749595
The Journal of surgical research  2014;191(1):161-168.
To evaluate hospital variation in the use of low anterior resection (LAR), local excision (LE) and abdominoperineal resection (APR) in the treatment of rectal cancer in elderly patients.
Using SEER-Medicare linked data, we identified 4,959 stage I–III rectal cancer patients over age 65 diagnosed from 2000–2005 who underwent operative intervention at one of 370 hospitals. We evaluated the distribution of hospital-specific procedure rates and used generalized mixed models with random hospital effects to examine the influence of patient characteristics and hospital on operation type, using APR as a reference.
The median hospital performed APR on 33% of elderly rectal cancer patients. Hospital was a stronger predictor of LAR receipt than any patient characteristic, explaining 32% of procedure choice, but not a strong predictor of LE, explaining only 3.8%. Receipt of LE was primarily related to tumor size and tumor stage, which, combined, explained 31% of procedure variation.
Receipt of local excision is primarily determined by patient characteristics. In contrast, the hospital where surgery is performed significantly influences whether a patient undergoes an LAR or APR. Understanding the factors that cause this institutional variation is crucial to ensuring equitable availability of sphincter preservation.
PMCID: PMC4134697  PMID: 24750983
17.  Mindfulness-based intervention for prodromal sleep disturbances in older adults: Design and methodology of a randomized controlled trial 
Contemporary clinical trials  2014;39(1):22-27.
Sleep problems are prevalent among older adults, often persist untreated, and are predictive of health detriments. Given the limitations of conventional treatments, non-pharmacological treatments such as mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are gaining popularity for sleep ailments. However, nothing is yet known about the impact of MBIs on sleep in older adults with prodromal sleep disturbances. This article details the design and methodology of a 6-week parallel-group RCT calibrated to test the treatment effect of the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) program versus sleep hygiene education for improving sleep quality, as the main outcome, in older adults with prodromal sleep disturbances. Older adults with current sleep disturbances will be recruited from the urban Los Angeles community. Participants will be randomized into two standardized treatment conditions, MAPs and sleep hygiene education. Each condition will consist of weekly 2-hour group-based classes over the course of the 6-week intervention. The primary objective of this study is to determine if mindfulness meditation practice as engaged through the MAPs program leads to improved sleep quality relative to sleep hygiene education in older adults with prodromal sleep disturbances.
PMCID: PMC4175059  PMID: 24993561
Mindfulness; sleep problems; inflammatory markers; older adults; randomized controlled trial; design and methodology
19.  Self-reported sleep duration mitigates the association between inflammation and cognitive functioning in hospitalized older men 
Frontiers in Psychology  2015;6:1004.
Examination of predictors of late-life cognitive functioning is particularly salient in at-risk older adults, such as those who have been recently hospitalized. Sleep and inflammation are independently related to late-life cognitive functioning. The potential role of sleep as a moderator of the relationship between inflammation and global cognitive functioning has not been adequately addressed. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration, inflammatory markers, and general cognitive functioning in hospitalized older men. Older men (n = 135; Mean age = 72.9 ± 9.7 years) were recruited from inpatient rehabilitation units at a VA Medical Center to participate in a cross-sectional study of sleep. Participants completed the Mini-Mental State Examination and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and underwent an 8 a.m. blood draw to measure inflammatory markers [i.e., C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), and interleukin-6 (IL-6)]. Hierarchical regression analyses (controlling for age, education, race, depression, pain, health comorbidity, and BMI) revealed that higher levels of CRP and sICAM are associated with higher global cognitive functioning in older men with sleep duration ≥6 h (β = −0.19, β = −0.18, p's < 0.05, respectively), but not in those with short sleep durations (p's > 0.05). In elderly hospitalized men, sleep duration moderates the association between inflammation and cognitive functioning. These findings have implications for the clinical care of older men within medical settings.
PMCID: PMC4508491  PMID: 26257670
sleep duration; inflammation; cognition; hospitalization; older adults
20.  In Patients With Stable Heart Failure, Soluble TNF-Receptor 2 Is Associated With Increased Risk for Depressive Symptoms 
Biological research for nursing  2013;16(3):295-302.
Researchers have proposed biological (inflammation) and psychological (depression) factors as potential mechanisms for poorer outcomes and readmissions in heart failure (HF) patients. However, studies investigating the link between inflammation and depressive symptoms in these patients are few. We examined the relationships between levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (sTNR2) and depressive symptoms in HF outpatients.
55 patients (74.5% men; 60% Whites; mean age 71.6 ± 11.3 years) with New York Heart Association Class II, III, or IV HF (49%, 47%, and 4%, respectively) and mean ejection fraction (EF) 29.9 ± 7.1% completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 as a measure of depressive symptoms. We also obtained height, weight, and CRP, IL-6, and sTNFR2 levels. We used multivariate regressions to assess the predictive value of PHQ-9 scores on each inflammatory marker.
22 (40%) participants reported depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 score ≥ 5). After controlling for age, gender, body mass index, HF etiology, EF, and statin use, we found significant relationships between levels of both sTNFR2 (β = .35, p = .01) and IL-6 (β = .30, p = .04), but not CRP (β = −.96, p = .52), and depression scores.
Our findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting the proposition that heightened inflammation explains the effect depression has on HF. Health care providers should screen for depression in HF patients, as they may be at higher risk of augmented inflammation and poor outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4447109  PMID: 23904128
heart failure; inflammation; depressive symptoms; TNF-α; TNF-Receptors; IL-6; CRP
21.  Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances 
JAMA internal medicine  2015;175(4):494-501.
Sleep disturbances are most prevalent among older adults and often go untreated. Treatment options for sleep disturbances remain limited, and there is a need for community-accessible programs that can improve sleep.
To determine the efficacy of a mind-body medicine intervention, called mindfulness meditation, to promote sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep disturbances.
Randomized clinical trial with 2 parallel groups conducted from January 1 to December 31, 2012, at a medical research center among an older adult sample (mean [SD] age, 66.3 [7.4] years) with moderate sleep disturbances (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI] >5).
A standardized mindful awareness practices (MAPs) intervention (n = 24) or a sleep hygiene education (SHE) intervention (n = 25) was randomized to participants, who received a 6-week intervention (2 hours per week) with assigned homework.
The study was powered to detect between-group differences in moderate sleep disturbance measured via the PSQI at postintervention. Secondary outcomes pertained to sleep-related daytime impairment and included validated measures of insomnia symptoms, depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue, as well as inflammatory signaling via nuclear factor (NF)–κB.
Using an intent-to-treat analysis, participants in the MAPs group showed significant improvement relative to those in the SHE group on the PSQI. With the MAPs intervention, the mean (SD) PSQIs were 10.2 (1.7) at baseline and 7.4 (1.9) at postintervention. With the SHE intervention, the mean (SD) PSQIs were 10.2 (1.8) at baseline and 9.1 (2.0) at postintervention. The between-group mean difference was 1.8 (95%CI, 0.6–2.9), with an effect size of 0.89. The MAPs group showed significant improvement relative to the SHE group on secondary health outcomes of insomnia symptoms, depression symptoms, fatigue interference, and fatigue severity (P < .05 for all). Between-group differences were not observed for anxiety, stress, or NF-κB, although NF-κB concentrations significantly declined over time in both groups (P < .05).
The use of a community-accessible MAPs intervention resulted in improvements in sleep quality at immediate postintervention, which was superior to a highly structured SHE intervention. Formalized mindfulness-based interventions have clinical importance by possibly serving to remediate sleep problems among older adults in the short term, and this effect appears to carry over into reducing sleep-related daytime impairment that has implications for quality of life.
TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT01534338
PMCID: PMC4407465  PMID: 25686304
22.  Greater amygdala activity and dorsomedial prefrontal–amygdala coupling are associated with enhanced inflammatory responses to stress 
Psychological stress is implicated in the etiology of many common chronic diseases and mental health disorders. Recent research suggests that inflammation may be a key biological mediator linking stress and health. Nevertheless, the neurocognitive pathways underlying stress-related increases in inflammatory activity are largely unknown. The present study thus examined associations between neural and inflammatory responses to an acute laboratory-based social stressor. Healthy female participants (n = 31) were exposed to a brief episode of stress while they underwent an fMRI scan. Blood samples were taken before and after the stressor, and plasma was assayed for markers of inflammatory activity. Exposure to the stressor was associated with significant increases in feelings of social evaluation and rejection, and with increases in levels of inflammation. Analyses linking the neural and inflammatory data revealed that heightened neural activity in the amygdala in response to the stressor was associated with greater increases in inflammation. Functional connectivity analyses indicated that individuals who showed stronger coupling between the amygdala and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) also showed a heightened inflammatory response to the stressor. Interestingly, activity in a different set of neural regions was related to increases in feelings of social rejection. These data show that greater amygdala activity in response to a stressor, as well as tighter coupling between the amygdala and the DMPFC, are associated with greater increases in inflammatory activity. Results from this study begin to identify neural mechanisms that might link stress with increased risk for inflammation-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease and depression.
PMCID: PMC4368432  PMID: 25016200
Amygdala; Medial prefrontal cortex; Inflammation; IL-6; Stress; Social stress; Social rejection; fMRI; Neuroimaging
23.  The effect of HAART-induced HIV suppression on circulating markers of inflammation and immune activation 
AIDS (London, England)  2015;29(4):463-471.
To investigate the impact of HAART-induced HIV suppression on levels of 24 serological biomarkers of inflammation and immune activation.
Prospective cohort study.
Biomarkers were measured with multiplex assays in centralized laboratories using stored serum samples contributed by 1,697 men during 8,903 person-visits in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) from 1984–2009. Using generalized gamma models, we compared biomarker values across three groups, adjusting for possible confounders: HIV-uninfected (NEG); HIV+, HAART-naïve (NAI); and HAART-exposed with HIV RNA suppressed to <50 copies/mL plasma (SUP). We also estimated changes in biomarker levels associated with duration of HIV suppression, using splined generalized gamma regression with a knot at one year.
Most biomarkers were relatively normalized in the SUP group relative to the NAI group; however, 12 biomarkers in the SUP group were distinct (p<0.002) from NEG values: CXCL10, CRP, sCD14, sTNFR2, TNF-α, sCD27, sGP130, IL-8, CCL13, BAFF, GM-CSF, and IL-12p70. Thirteen biomarkers exhibited significant changes in the first year after viral suppression, but none changed significantly after that time.
Biomarkers of inflammation and immune activation moved toward HIV-negative levels within the first year after HAART-induced HIV suppression. Although several markers of T cell activation returned to levels present in HIV-negative men, residual immune activation, particularly monocyte/macrophage activation, was present. This residual immune activation may represent a therapeutic target to improve the prognosis of HIV-infected individuals receiving HAART.
PMCID: PMC4311407  PMID: 25630041
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active; Biological Markers; Inflammation; Prospective Studies; Male
24.  Temporal stability of serum concentrations of cytokines and soluble receptors measured across two years in low-risk HIV seronegative men 
Prospective cohort studies often quantify serum immune biomarkers at a single time point to determine risk of cancer and other chronic diseases that develop years later. Estimates of the within-person temporal stability of serum markers partly assess the utility of single biomarker measurements, and may have important implications for the design of prospective studies of chronic disease risk.
Using archived sera collected from 200 HIV-seronegative men at three visits spaced over approximately two years, concentrations of 14 biomarkers (ApoA1, sCD14, sgp130, sIL-6R, sIL-2Rα, sTNFR2, BAFF/BLyS, CXCL13, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α) were measured in a single laboratory. Age-and ethnicity-adjusted intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated for each biomarker, and mixed linear regression models were utilized to examine the influence of age, ethnicity, season, and study site on biomarker concentrations.
Across all three study visits, most biomarkers had ICC values indicating fair to excellent within-person stability. ApoA1 (ICC=0.88)and TNF-α (ICC=0.87) showed the greatest stability; the ICC for IL-8 (ICC=0.33) was remarkably less stable. The ICCs were similar when calculated between pairs of consecutive visits. The covariables did not influence biomarker levels or their temporal stability. All biomarkers showed moderate to strong pairwise correlations across visits.
Serum concentrations of most evaluated immune biomarkers displayed acceptable to excellent within-person temporal reliability over a 2-year period. Further investigation may be required to clarify the stability of IL-8.
These findings lend support to using these serologic immune biomarkers in prospective studies investigating associations with chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3829469  PMID: 23983237
Temporal stability; biomarkers; cytokines; soluble receptors; intraclass correlation coefficient
25.  Serum biomarkers of immune activation and subsequent risk of non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma among HIV-infected women 
There is increasing evidence that chronic immune activation predisposes to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Whether this association exists among women representative of the current HIV epidemic in the U.S. who are at high risk of HIV-associated NHL (AIDS-NHL), remains to be determined.
We conducted a nested case-control study within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with longitudinally collected risk factor data and sera. Cases were HIV-infected women with stored sera collected at three time-windows 3–5 years, 1–3 years, and 0–1 year prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis (n=22). Three to six HIV-infected controls, without AIDS-NHL, were matched to each case on age, race, CD4+ T cell count, and study follow-up time (n=78). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between one unit increase in log-transformed biomarker levels and AIDS-NHL were computed using random effect multivariate logistic regression models.
Elevated levels of sCD27 (OR=7.21, 95% CI=2.62–19.88), sCD30 (OR=2.64, 95% CI=1.24–5.64), and CXCL13 (OR=2.56, 95% CI=1.32–4.96) were associated with subsequent diagnosis of AIDS-NHL overall. Elevated sCD23 was associated with a 2-to 4-fold increased risk of AIDS-NHL in certain subgroups, while elevated IL6 was associated with a 2-fold increased risk in the 0–1 year time-window, only.
These findings support the hypothesis that chronic B cell activation contributes to the development of AIDS-NHL in women.
sCD23, sCD27, sCD30, and CXCL13 may serve as biomarkers for AIDS-NHL.
PMCID: PMC3833437  PMID: 24045923
lymphoma; B cell; cytokines; AIDS; immune activation

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