Compared to data on adolescents and adults, limited research has been conducted on biological correlates among young children with possible psychological difficulties, especially in Asian countries. By focusing on various peripheral biochemical indicators, we investigated potential biological correlates of psychological states in a community sample of Taiwanese school children aged 6–10 years. In total, 307 students (159 obese children and 148 normal-weight children) were selected from first- and fourth-grade school children in eight elementary schools in the Taipei metropolitan area in 2009. These children underwent a comprehensive health examination, including a physical examination, blood sample analysis, and questionnaire administration in a hospital. Differences in anthropometric and serum biochemical readings were compared between children with average and worse levels on each of the five psychological domains. We found that interleukin (IL)-1β [β = 1.29, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.50–2.09], IL-10 (β = 1.61, 95 % CI <0.01–3.24), fasting blood glucose (β = 0.08, 95 % CI 0.01–0.15), homocysteine (β = 0.63, 95 % CI 0.09–1.18), and aspartate transaminase (AST) (β = 0.15, 95 % CI <0.01–0.31) were significantly positively associated with anxiety. In addition, IL-1β, insulin, AST, and alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) were significantly positively associated with depression. Anger and disruptive behaviors were also related to specific biological correlates. Specific biological correlates, including AST/ALT, cardiovascular disease-related variables, and specific cytokines, were linked to particular psychological states among young children in this Asian population. These might provide a route for better understanding the biological aspects of children’s mental health and might contribute to research on diagnostic or predictive biomarkers for psychiatric diseases in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5102-5112
Number of pages11
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Anxiety
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST)
  • Depression
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-1β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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