Psychological stress is associated with high levels of IL-6 in HIV-1 infected individuals on effective combined antiretroviral treatment

Carmina R. Fumaz, Marian Gonzalez-Garcia, Xavier Borras, Jose A. Muñoz-Moreno, Nuria Perez-Alvarez, Beatriz Mothe, Christian Brander, Maria Jose Ferrer, Jordi Puig, Anuska Llano, Jordi Fernandez-Castro, Bonaventura Clotet

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the role of psychological stress in the circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a group of HIV-1 infected individuals on effective cART. We developed a cross-sectional study with 50 individuals with confirmed diagnosis of HIV-1 infection ≥1 and ≤8years, on continuous cART for >1 and <8years and with plasma viral load <50 copies/mL for at least 1year. Clinical, behavioral and psychological variables were collected to control their possible indirect contribution in the relationship between psychological stress and IL-6. Pearson correlation and univariate/multivariate logistic regressions were performed. Eighty-eight percent of the subjects were male: median (IQR) age: 39.0 (32.7-42.2), years since HIV-1 infection: 3.4 (2.1-7.0), years on cART: 2.5 (1.6-5.7), CD4 cell count: 709.0 (573.5-881.0) cell/mm 3, plasma levels of IL-6: 7.0 (0-12.2) pg/ml. A strong correlation between IL-6 and psychological stress was found (r=81). Psychological stress (coef: 0.49; SD: 0.05), anxiety/depression (0.37; 0.08) and unhealthy diet (2.94; 1.38) were associated with higher levels of IL-6. In the multivariate model psychological stress remained strongly associated with IL-6 (R 2: 59%). In conclusion, individuals with psychological stress presented high levels of IL-6 and psychological stress was the only variable which remained strongly associated with IL-6. This strong relationship suggests evidence for a mechanism through which psychological stress might contribute to the health's impairment of HIV-infected individuals on effective cART. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-572
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • HIV infection
  • IL-6
  • Psychological stress


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