Psychological stress increases pro-inflammatory cytokine production

Fibromyalgia Psychological Stress Image

IL-8 levels rise in connection with psychological stress

It has been observed that up to about two-thirds of those with fibromyalgia report its initial onset in connection with a highly stressful event or period in their lives. 

A significant role for IL-8 in the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia is suggested by the fact that most individuals with fibromyalgia report a worsening of symptom severity at times of significant psychological stress.

December, 2008

Stress assessment in acute care department nurses by measuring interleukin-8.

Summary of the Abstract

Cytokines, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) have been shown to be related to depressive symptoms or inflammatory diseases.

The aim of this study was to assess whether urinary IL-8 levels could be used as an indicator of stress among acute care nurses. IL-8 levels in the urine would indicate higher IL-8 production and, as such, higher blood levels of IL-8.

Acute care nurses are believed to experience substantially greater stress than chronic care nurses. Therefore the IL-8 levels of the acute care nurses were compared with those found among chronic care nurses.

Urinary levels of IL-8 in 49 acute care nurses were compared with urinary levels of IL-8 among 69 chronic care nurses. The chronic care nurses acted as a ‘control’ in this experiment.

Urinary IL-8 levels among acute care nurses were substantially higher than those among chronic care nurses. Acute care nurses also reported a much higher level of psychological stress. IL-8 therefore appears to be an appropriate indicator of stress.


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