Booij S.H., Bouma EMC, de Jonge P, Ormel H, Oldehinkel AJ (2013). Chronicity of depressive problems and the cortisol response to psychosocial stress in adolescents. The TRAILS study". Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 May;38(5):659-66
Clinical and epidemiological studies, further supported by meta-analytic studies, indicate a possible association between chronicity (i.e., persistence or recurrence) of depression and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responsiveness to psychosocial stress. In the present study we examined whether and how chronicity of depressive problems predicts cortisol responses to a standardized social stress test in adolescents. Data were collected in a high-risk focus sample (n = 351) of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) cohort, a large prospective population study with bi- to triennial measurements. Depressive problems were assessed around age 11, 13.5 and 16. Cortisol levels were measured in saliva, sampled before, during, and after the Groningen Social Stress Test (GSST), to determine the cortisol response to psychosocial stress. The area under the curve with respect to the increase (i.e. change from baseline) of the cortisol response was used as a measure of HPA axis response. By means of linear regression analysis and repeated-measures General Linear Modeling it was examined whether chronicity of depressive problems predicted the cortisol response to the GSST around the age of 16. Chronicity of depressive problems was significantly associated with cortisol stress responses. The relationship was curvilinear, with recent-onset depressive problems predicting an increased cortisol response, and more chronic depressive problems a blunted response. The results of this study suggest that depressive problems initially increase cortisol responses to stress, but that this pattern reverses when depressive problems persist over prolonged periods of time.
Papachristou S, Ormel J, Oldehinkel AJ, Kyriakopoulos M, Reinares M, Reichenberg A, Frangou S. Child Behavior Checklist - Mania Scale (CBCL-MS): Development and evaluation of a population-based screening scale for bipolar disorder. PLos One 2013; 8(8):e69459
Stavrakakis N, Oldehinkel A.J., Ormel J., Verhulst F.C., OudeVoshaar R., Nederhof E., de Jonge P. Plasticity genes do not modify associations between physical activity and depressive symptoms.Health Psychol. 2013, 32(7), 785-792
Objective: Physical activity is inversely associated with depression in adolescents but the overall associations are fairly weak, suggesting individual differences in the strength of the associations. The aim of this study was to investigate whether plasticity genes modify the reciprocal prospective associations between physical activity and depressive symptoms found previously. Methods: In a prospective population-based study (N=1196), physical activity and depressive symptoms were assessed three times, around the ages of 11, 13.5 and 16. Structural Equation Modeling was used to examine reciprocal effects of physical activity and depressive symptoms over time. The plasticity genes examined were 5-HTTLPR, DRD2, DRD4, MAOA, TPH1, 5-HTR2A, COMT, and BDNF. A cumulative gene plasticity index consisting of three groups (low, intermediate and high) according to the number of plasticity alleles carried by the adolescents was created. Using a multi-group approach we examined if the associations between physical activity and depressive symptoms differed between the three cumulative plasticity groups as well as between the individual polymorphisms. Results: We found significant cross-sectional and cross-lagged paths from physical activity to depressive symptoms and vice versa. Neither the cumulative plasticity index nor the individual polymorphisms modified the strengths of these associations. Conclusion: Associations between adolescents’ physical activity and depressive symptoms are not modified by plasticity genes.
Dietrich A., Ormel J, Buitelaar JK, Minderaa RB, Verhulst FC, Hoekstra PJ, Hartman CA. Cortisol in the morning and dimensions of anxiety, depression, and aggression in children from a general population and clinic-referred cohort: An integrated analysis. The TRAILS study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013, 38(8), 1281-1289
Anxiety and depressive problems have often been related to higher hypothalamic— pituitary—adrenal (HPA)-axis activity (basal morning cortisol levels and cortisol awakening response [CAR]) and externalizing problems to lower HPA-axis activity. However, associations appear weaker and more inconsistent than initially assumed. Previous studies from the Tracking Adolescents Individual Lives Study (TRAILS) suggested sex-differences in these relationships and differential associations with specific dimensions of depressive problems in a general population sample of children (10—12 years). Using the TRAILS population sample (n = 1604), we tested hypotheses on the association between single day cortisol (basal morning levels and CAR) and specifically constructed dimensions of anxiety (cognitive versus somatic), depressive (cognitive-affective versus somatic), and externalizing problems (reactive versus proactive aggression), and explored the modifying role of sex. Moreover, we repeated analyses in an independent same-aged clinic-referred sample (n = 357). Structural Equation Modeling was used to investigate the association between cortisol and higher- and lower-order (thus, broad and specific) problem dimensions based on self-reports in an integrated model. Overall, findings were consistent across the population and clinic-referred samples, as well as with the existing literature. Most support was found for higher cortisol (mainly CAR) in relation to depressive problems. However, in general, associations were weak in both samples. Therefore, the present results shed doubt on the relevance of single day cortisol measurements for problem behaviors in the milder range. Associations may be stronger in more severe or persistent psychopathology.