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Arterial stiffness and inflammatory response to psychophysiological stress

Ellins, Elizabeth Anne ORCID:, Halcox, Julian P. J., Donald, Ann, Field, Bryony, Brydon, Lena, Deanfield, John and Steptoe, Andrew 2008. Arterial stiffness and inflammatory response to psychophysiological stress. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 22 (6) , pp. 941-948. 10.1016/j.bbi.2008.01.009

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The processes through which psychological stress influences cardiovascular disease are poorly understood, but may involve activation of hemodynamic, neuroendocrine and inflammatory responses. We assessed the relationship between carotid arterial stiffness and inflammatory responses to acute psychophysiologic stress. Participants were 155 healthy men and women aged 55.3, SD 2.7 years. Blood samples for the assessment of plasma fibrinogen, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha and interleukin (IL) 6 were drawn at baseline, immediately following standardized behavioral tasks, and 45 min later. Carotid artery stiffness was measured ultrasonically three years later, and blood pressure and heart rate responses were recorded. The tasks induced substantial increases in blood pressure and heart rate, together with increased fibrinogen, TNFalpha and IL-6 concentration. Carotid stiffness was positively associated with body mass, waist/hip ratio, blood pressure, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, and inversely with high density lipoprotein and grade of employment. Baseline levels of inflammatory variables were not related to carotid artery stiffness. But carotid stiffness was greater in participants with larger fibrinogen (p=0.037) and TNFalpha (p=0.036) responses to psychophysiological stress. These effects were independent of age, gender, grade of employment, smoking, body mass, waist/hip ratio, systolic and diastolic pressure, high and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein. There were no associations between carotid stiffness and stress responses in IL-6, blood pressure, or heart rate. We conclude that individual differences in inflammatory responses to psychophysiological stress are independently related to structural changes in artery walls that reflect increased cardiovascular disease risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Psychological stress; Carotid; Fibrinogen; Tumor necrosis factor alpha; Interleukin 6; Blood pressure
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0889-1591
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 10:16

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