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Karabatsiakis 2017 MiP2017

From Bioblast
The involvement of mitochondria in chronic low-grade inflammation associated with maltreatment experiences in childhood. Karabatsiakis_Presentation

Link: MiP2017

Karabatsiakis A, Boeck C, Koenig AM, Schury K, Geiger ML, Wilker S, Waller C, Guendel H, Fegert JM, Calzia E, Kolassa IT (2017)

Event: MiP2017


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), child maltreatment (CM) includes all forms of physical and emotional maltreatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity [1]. Experiencing CM is a severe stressor, which has been associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes in adulthood. A state of chronic low-grade inflammation and alterations in inflammatory processes were suggested to be involved in the high prevalence of secondary diseases observed with CM. The molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of this pro-inflammatory phenotype remain, however, largely unknown. On a cellular level, mitochondria were recently found to be not only the main energy suppliers of human cells, but also key regulators of inflammatory processes.

We therefore analyzed in a study cohort of 30 women with varying degrees of CM experiences whether mitochondrial respiratory activity was altered in intact peripheral blood mononuclear cells immune cells and was associated with increased levels of inflammatory signaling. The Childhood Trauma Questionaire (CTQ) was used to assess adverse experiences in childhood.

With increasingly severe CM experiences, study participants displayed higher levels of endogenous, bioactive molecules linked to oxidative stress and an increased immune cell mitochondrial activity, which was associated with a higher secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha.

Together these data support the hypothesis that alterations in immune cell mitochondrial functioning might be at the interface between the association of CM experiences and a state of chronic low-grade inflammation that persists until adulthood. The present findings further emphasize that the early prevention of child maltreatment, abuse and neglect warrants more attention, as affected individuals suffer not only from life-long consequences for mental, but also for physical health.

Bioblast editor: Kandolf G O2k-Network Lab: DE Ulm Karabatsiakis A

Labels: MiParea: Respiration, mt-Awareness 

Organism: Human  Tissue;cell: Blood cells  Preparation: Intact cells 

HRR: Oxygraph-2k 



Karabatsiakis A(1), Böck C(1), Koenig AM(1), Schury K(1), Geiger ML(1), Wilker S(1), Waller C(2), Gündel H(2), Fegert JM(3), Calzia E(4), Kolassa IT(1)
  1. Clinical & Biological Psychology, Inst Psychology Education, Ulm Univ
  2. Dept Psychosomatic Medicine Psychotherapy
  3. Dept Child Adolescent Psychiatry Psychotherapy
  4. Inst Anesthesiological Pathophysiology Process Engineering
Univ Hosp Ulm, Germany. – [email protected]


  1. WHO fact sheet, revised September 2016.