High Serum Albumin Levels Have a Protective Effect on Mental Health in Patients With Juvenile SLE

young girl, adolescent, head down, depression, mental health
Study findings from EULAR 2020 suggest that higher albumin levels provide a potentially protective effect on mental health in juvenile SLE.

High serum albumin levels have a protective effect on mental health in patients with juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (jSLE), according to study results presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) E-Congress, held online from June 3 to 6, 2020.

The study included a cross-sectional sample of 30 patients with jSLE aged ≥16 years (juvenile onset or age at diagnosis, <18 years) who completed a psychosocial assessment and a cognitive assessment between October 2018 and May 2019. Researchers also collected data on demographics and clinical characteristics and performed a statistical analysis.

The median patient age was 21 years, with a median albumin serum level of 41.7 g/dL. Mean scores were calculated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score for depression (3.9) and anxiety (4.3), as well as the Mini-Mental State Exam for overall cognitive assessment (mean of 27.7).

Based on these measures, 13.3% of patients showed depression, 63.3% anxiety, and 23.3% mild cognitive impairment. Researchers detected a significant inverse relationship between serum albumin levels and depressive symptoms (ρ, -0.380; P =.042) and anxiety symptoms (ρ, -0.406; P =.029). These findings suggest that higher albumin levels provide a potentially protective effect on mental health. However, there was no correlation between albumin serum concentration and cognitive assessment scores.

These findings on the effect of high albumin levels on mental health are consistent with previous studies. In the current study, the researchers also highlighted a possible inflammation related etiology for depression in patients with jSLE, lending further support to the protective role of albumin in guarding against inflammation and oxidative damage.


S. Ganhão, B. Silva, F. Aguiar, M. Rodrigues, M. Figueiredo-Braga, I. Brito. Serum albumin levels and depression in jSLE. Presented at: EULAR 2020 E-Congress; June 3-6, 2020. Abstract AB0982.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor