OBJECTIVE: Depression has been linked to endothelial dysfunction, and some research suggests that past depressive episodes are associated with a lasting, negative impact on the endothelium. However, investigations in this area have been predominantly cross-sectional, raising questions about the direction of these associations. Using a multiwave design, we sought to extend previous research in this area by examining whether depressive symptoms have a lasting negative influence on endothelial function. METHODS: A total of 135 adolescent and young adult females with no known or suspected major health problems were followed for 21/2 years. Endothelial function was assessed at three time points throughout the study. The Beck Depression Inventory was administered, and information about health practices was collected every 6 months. RESULTS: Self-reported depressive symptoms covaried with endothelial functioning on a within-person basis (β =-0.23, p <.05). As a participant's depression symptoms rose beyond her typical level, her endothelial function declined commensurately. This association persisted after controlling for health practices and adiposity. There was no evidence that depressive symptoms predicted endothelial function at later time points or interacted with time to predict the trajectories of endothelial function over the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive symptoms were concurrently associated with endothelial function in this cohort of healthy adolescent girls and young women. On visits when participants endorsed depressive symptoms that were higher than their mean level of depression, they tended to have worse endothelial function. We did not observe a lasting negative effect of depression on endothelial function.
- endothelial function