Hair cortisol assayed for individuals facing daily challenges and at risk of mosquito-borne disease causing stress and dysregulated immune responses
Social Stressors, Arboviral Infection, and Immune Dysregulation in the Coastal Lowland Region of Ecuador: A Mixed Methods Approach in Ecological Perspective
Ocasio, D.V., et al (2021) Am J Trop Med Hyg.
ABSTRACT: Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits arboviral diseases such as dengue (DENV), chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika viruses (ZIKV), is present in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Individuals at risk of mosquito-borne disease (MBD) in the urban tropics face daily challenges linked to their socio-environment conditions, such as poor infrastructure, poverty, crowding, and limited access to adequate healthcare. These daily demands induce chronic stress events and dysregulated immune responses. We sought to investigate the role of socio-ecologic risk factors in distress symptoms and their impact on biological responses to MBD in Machala, Ecuador. Between 2017 and 2019, individuals (≥ 18 years) with suspected arbovirus illness (DENV, ZIKV, and CHIKV) from sentinel clinics were enrolled (index cases, N = 28). Cluster investigations of the index case households and people from four houses within a 200-m radius of index home (associate cases, N = 144) were conducted (total N = 172). Hair samples were collected to measure hair cortisol concentration (HCC) as a stress biomarker. Blood samples were collected to measure serum cytokines concentrations of IL-10, IL-8, TNF-α, and TGF-β. Univariate analyses were used to determine the association of socio-health metrics related to perceived stress scores (PSS), HCC, and immune responses. We found that housing conditions influence PSS and HCC levels in individuals at risk of MBD. Inflammatory cytokine distribution was associated with the restorative phase of immune responses in individuals with low-moderate HCC. These data suggest that cortisol may dampen pro-inflammatory responses and influence activation of the restorative phase of immune responses to arboviral infections.
Keywords: Cortisol, hair, saliva, stress
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