Children’s cortisol and externalizing stress symptoms are predictors of adiponectin evolution over two years.


BACKGROUND: Adiponectin is an anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing and energy-regulating adipocytokine. Consequently, the link between psychosocial stress and inflammatory diseases like the metabolic syndrome might be partially explained by lower adiponectin levels in stress. Nevertheless, the stress-adiponectin association has seldom been tested and no clarity exists about the directionality. METHODS: In the Belgian ChiBS study, serum adiponectin and stress levels were measured in 348 children (5-10y) at baseline and in 168 of them after 2-year follow-up. Psychosocial stress was reported with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (parental report on emotional, peer, and conduct problems), negative emotions (anger, sadness, anxiety) and negative events. In addition, salivary cortisol diurnal patterns were available from 2days with each 4 samples. Longitudinal linear regression analyses were performed including step-wise adjustment for age, sex, socio-economic status, body fat%, physical activity and snack frequency. RESULTS: Despite some positive cross-sectional associations, high daily cortisol output (beta=-0.285), anger (beta=-0.233) and conduct problems (beta=-0.182) were associated with less adiponectin increase over time, in most cases independent of the tested confounders. The other directionality was not significant: no longitudinal prediction of stress by adiponectin. CONCLUSION: In healthy children, daily cortisol output and externalizing stress symptoms were negative predictors of adiponectin evolution. These findings highlight the health-compromising effects of psychosocial stress.