Chiang JJ, Eisenberger NI, Seeman TE, Taylor SE. Negative and competitive social interactions are related to heightened proinflammatory cytokine activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 7 2012;109(6):1878-1882
Research has consistently documented that social relationships influence physical health, a link that may implicate systemic inflammation. We examined whether daily social interactions predict levels of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and the soluble receptor for tumor necrosis factor-α (sTNFαRII) and their reactivity to a social stressor. One-hundred twenty-two healthy young adults completed daily diaries for 8 d that assessed positive, negative, and competitive socialinteractions. Participants then engaged in laboratory stress challenges, and IL-6 and sTNFαRII were collected at baseline and at 25- and 80-min poststressor, from oral mucosal transudate.Negative social interactions predicted elevated sTNFαRII at baseline, and IL-6 and sTNFαRII 25-min poststressor, as well as total output of sTNFαRII. Competitive social interactions predicted elevated baseline levels of IL-6 and sTNFαRII and total output of both cytokines. These findings suggest that daily social interactions that are negative and competitive are associated prospectively with heightened proinflammatory cytokine activity.