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Inflammation and coagulation factors in persons >65 years of age with symptoms of depression but without evidence of myocardial ischemia∗

      Abstract

      Depression is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. This study examines associations of depressive symptoms with inflammation and coagulation factors in persons aged >65 years. Blood samples were obtained from 4,268 subjects free of cardiovascular disease (age 72.4 ± 5.5 years, 2,623 women). Inflammation markers were C-reactive protein (CRP), white blood cell (WBC) count, total platelet count, and albumin; coagulation factors included factors VIIc and VIIIc and fibrinogen. Depression was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, and states of energy depletion with a validated exhaustion index. Statistical adjustments were made for risk factors (age, sex, race, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes mellitus) and physical measures of frailty (isometric handgrip, timed 15-feet walk test, activity level). Depression was associated with elevated CRP (3.31 ± 0.10 vs 3.51 ± 0.21 mg/L), WBC (6.14 ± 0.03 vs 6.43 ± 0.11 106/L), fibrinogen (319 ± 1 vs 326 ± 3 mg/dl), and factor VIIc (124.6 ± 0.6% vs 127.2 ± 1.3%; all p <0.05). Exhaustion also was related to elevated inflammation and coagulation markers (p <0.05). Exhausted men had markedly elevated CRP levels (6.82 ± 2.10 mg/L) versus nonexhausted men (3.05 ± 0.16: p = 0.007). After adjustment for control variables, exhaustion remained associated with albumin (p = 0.033), fibrinogen (p = 0.017), CRP (p = 0.066), and WBC (p = 0.060), whereas associations of depressive symptoms with biochemistry measures lost statistical significance. Thus, depression and exhaustion are associated with low-grade inflammation and elevated coagulation factors in persons aged >65 years.
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