3 years ago

Depressive symptoms are associated with salivary shedding of Epstein-Barr virus in female adolescents: The role of sex differences

Adolescent females have a higher prevalence of depression in comparison to their male peers – a disparity that has been increasing over the past decade. Depression is of concern as it is associated with chronic disease and to immune dysregulation, which may be one mechanism linking depression to future pathology. This study examined the extent to which sex moderated the association between depressive symptoms and immune dysregulation during adolescence using Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation, a biomarker of cellular immune response, as a model. Methods A representative community sample of 259 female and 279 male adolescents aged 11–17 years who were EBV IgG positive were examined. Trained interviewers collected the data during two home visits, one week apart. Depressive symptoms were measured at the first visit using the 9 item short-form of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale. EBV biomarkers were collected via saliva at the second visit and included a qualitative measure of EBV viral capsid antigen immunoglobulin G to assess prior EBV infection and a quantitative measure of EBV DNA to assess the number of viral copies shed in the saliva. Results In multivariable logistic regression analyses, increasing depressive symptoms were significantly associated with salivary shedding of EBV DNA for adolescent females only (logit=0.66, se=0.30, p<0.05), and the interaction between sex and depressive symptoms on salivary shedding of EBV DNA was statistically significant (logit=1.19, se=0.42, p<0.01). Sensitivity analyses were conducted in which sex was examined as a moderator in the relationship between depressive symptoms and salivary EBV DNA quantitative copies via Tobit regression; results were consistent with the presented findings. Conclusions Depressive symptoms are associated with EBV reactivation among EBV positive female adolescents, but not males. Future research is needed to examine EBV reactivation in female adolescents as a mechanism linking depression to future chronic disease and the role of sex hormones in explaining sex differences in the relationship between depressive symptoms and EBV reactivation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S030645301730392X

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