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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance Title: Metabolic and cardiovascular adjustments during psychological stress and carotid artery intima-media thickness in youth

Authors
item Lambiase, Maya -
item Dorn, Joan -
item Roemmich, James

Submitted to: Physiology and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 14, 2011
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Citation: Lambiase, M.J., Dorn, J., Roemmich, J.N. 2012. Metabolic and cardiovascular adjustments during psychological stress and carotid artery intima-media thickness in youth. Physiology and Behavior. 105:1140-1147.

Interpretive Summary: Increases in heart rate and especially systolic blood pressure during psychological stress (cardiovascular reactivity) are associated with subclinical measures of arterial thickening as measured by carotid artery intima-media thickness as early as childhood. Excess cardiovascular responses relative to the metabolic demand during psychological stress have been proposed as a mechanism for this association. It is not known whether measures of excess cardiovascular responses correlate with carotid artery intima-media thickness or mediate the relationship between traditionally measured cardiovascular reactivity and carotid intima-media thickness. Fifty-four adolescents, ages 13-16 years completed a graded exercise test on one day and measures of psychological stress reactivity (star tracing, speech) on another day. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and oxygen consumption were measured on both days. On a third visit adolescents completed an ultrasound scan to measure carotid artery intima-media thickness. Traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity (increase above baseline) and excess systolic blood pressure (the amount greater than expected based on metabolic demand) during the speech task were associated with greater carotid artery intima-media thickness. When excess systolic blood pressure was tested as a mediator in the regression model, traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity remained a significant predictor of carotid artery intima-media thickness. Thus, this study adds to the growing body of literature showing a link between systolic blood pressure reactivity to acute psychological stress and carotid artery intima-media thickness in youth. Excess systolic blood pressure did not statistically mediate the relationship between traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity and carotid artery intima-media thickness.

Technical Abstract: Objective: Cardiovascular reactivity is associated with carotid artery intima-media thickness as early as childhood. Excess cardiovascular responses relative to the metabolic demand during psychological stress have been proposed as a mechanism for this association. It is not known whether measures of excess cardiovascular responses correlate with carotid artery intima-media thickness or mediate the relationship between traditionally measured cardiovascular reactivity and carotid intima-media thickness. Methods: Fifty-four adolescents, ages 13-16 years completed a graded exercise test on one day and measures of psychological stress reactivity (star tracing, speech) on another day. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and oxygen consumption were measured on both days. On a third visit adolescents completed an ultrasound scan to measure carotid artery intima-media thickness. Results. Traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity (ß=0.001, p<0.04) and excess systolic blood pressure (ß=0.001, p<0.04) during the speech task were associated with greater carotid artery intima-media thickness. When excess systolic blood pressure was tested as a mediator in the regression model, traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity remained a significant predictor of carotid artery intima-media thickness. Conclusions. This study adds to the growing body of literature showing a link between systolic blood pressure reactivity to acute psychological stress and carotid artery intima-media thickness in youth. Excess systolic blood pressure did not statistically mediate the relationship between traditionally measured systolic blood pressure reactivity and carotid artery intima-media thickness.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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