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Inflammatory Markers and Fatigue in Individuals With Moderate to Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Nursing Research 2024 January
BACKGROUND: Fatigue, a prevalent complex symptom among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is considered an important clinical indicator of disease severity. However, the underlying mechanisms of COPD-related fatigue are not fully understood.

OBJECTIVES: This analysis explored the relationships between peripheral inflammatory markers and COPD-related fatigue in people with moderate to severe COPD.

METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of a longitudinal observational study of individuals with COPD examining the biological causes and functional consequences of depression. The data used in this study were collected at baseline. Systemic inflammation markers included C-reactive protein (CRP) and three pro-inflammatory cytokines consisting of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α. COPD-related fatigue was self-reported using the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire. Covariates included age; gender; smoking status; disease severity; symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain; and social support. Multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted.

RESULTS: The sample included 300 adults living with COPD; 80% were male, and the average age was 67.6 years. Modest correlations were found between two systemic inflammatory markers (CRP and IL-8) and COPD-related fatigue. CRP was the only inflammatory marker significantly associated with fatigue symptoms after adjusting for covariates in multivariable analyses. Depression, pain, and education level were also significant predictors of COPD-related fatigue.

DISCUSSION: The findings suggest that altered immune response based on CRP may contribute to COPD-related fatigue. Management of depression and pain may work as an effective treatment strategy for COPD-related fatigue. Further longitudinal studies with a broader range of inflammatory markers and multidimensional measures of fatigue symptoms are warranted.

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