Maternal warmth buffers the effects of low early-life socioeconomic status on pro-inflammatory signaling in adulthood.

TitleMaternal warmth buffers the effects of low early-life socioeconomic status on pro-inflammatory signaling in adulthood.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsChen E, Miller GE, Kobor MS, Cole SW
JournalMol Psychiatry
Date Published2011 Jul
KeywordsAdult, C-Reactive Protein, Computational Biology, CREB-Binding Protein, ets-Domain Protein Elk-1, Family, Female, GATA3 Transcription Factor, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Interleukin-6, Male, Mother-Child Relations, NF-kappa B, Octamer Transcription Factors, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Signal Transduction, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors, Transcription Factor AP-1, Transcription Factors

The notion that family support may buffer individuals under adversity from poor outcomes has been theorized to have important implications for mental and physical health, but little is known about the biological mechanisms that explain these links. We hypothesized that adults who grew up in low socioeconomic status (SES) households but who experienced high levels of maternal warmth would be protected from the pro-inflammatory states typically associated with low SES. A total of 53 healthy adults (aged 25-40 years) low in SES early in life were assessed on markers of immune activation and systemic inflammation. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling also was conducted. Low early-life SES individuals who had mothers, who expressed high warmth toward them, exhibited less Toll-like receptor-stimulated production of interleukin 6, and reduced bioinformatic indications of pro-inflammatory transcription factor activity (NF-κB) and immune activating transcription factor activity (AP-1) compared to those who were low in SES early in life but experienced low maternal warmth. To the extent that such effects are causal, they suggest the possibility that the detrimental immunologic effects of low early-life SES environments may be partly diminished through supportive family climates.

Alternate JournalMol. Psychiatry
PubMed ID20479762
PubMed Central IDPMC2925055
Grant ListAG107265 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
CA116778 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
HD058502 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL073975-05 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States