Background: High uric acid (UA) is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD), both of which occur disproportionately among African Americans. High UA also predicts greater blood pressure reactivity responses to acute social stress. However, whether UA itself shows reactivity in response to stress is unknown. We evaluated salivary uric acid (sUA) and blood pressure reactivity in response to acute social stress. Healthy African Americans (N = 103; 32% male; M age = 31.36 years), completed the Trier Social Stress Test. sUA and blood pressure measurements were taken before, during and after the stressor task. sUA showed significant reactivity and recovery, especially among older African Americans. Total sUA activation was also associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure total activation. Findings illuminate that acute stress may be a way in which UA is implicated in hypertension and CVD, suggesting a critical need to explore UA reactivity as a novel parameter of the acute stress response.
Background: Stress elicits a variety of psychophysiological responses that show large interindividual variability. Determining the neural mechanisms that mediate individual differences in the emotional response to stress would provide new insight that would have important implications for understanding stress-related disorders. Therefore, the present study examined individual differences in the relationship between brain activity and the emotional response to stress. In the largest stress study to date, 239 participants completed the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST) while heart rate, skin conductance response (SCR), cortisol, self-reported stress, and blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) signal responses were measured. The relationship between differential responses (heart rate, SCR, cortisol, and self-reported stress) and differential BOLD fMRI data was analyzed. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), dorsomedial PFC, ventromedial PFC, and amygdala activity varied with the behavioral response (i.e., SCR and self-reported stress). These results suggest the PFC and amygdala support processes that are important for the expression and regulation of the emotional response to stress, and that stress-related PFC and amygdala activity underlie interindividual variability in peripheral physiologic measures of the stress response.
High levels of uric acid are associated with greater risk of stress-related cardiovascular illnesses that occur disproportionately among African Americans. Whether hyperuricemia affects biological response to acute stress remains largely unknown, suggesting a need to clarify this potential connection. The current study examined how salivary uric acid (sUA) is associated with resting and reactive blood pressure – two robust predictors of hypertension and related cardiovascular disease and disparity. Healthy African Americans (N = 107; 32% male; M age = 31.74 years), completed the Trier Social Stress Test to induce social-evaluative stress. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were recorded before, during, and after the task to assess resting and reactive change in blood pressure. Participants also provided a saliva sample at baseline that was assayed for sUA. At rest, and controlling for age, sUA was modestly associated with higher systolic (r = .201, p = .044), but not diastolic (r = .100, p = .319) blood pressure. In response to the stressor task, and once again controlling for age, sUA was also associated with higher total activation of both systolic (r = .219, p = .025) and diastolic blood pressure (r = .198, p < .044). A subsequent moderation analysis showed that associations between sUA and BP measures were significant for females, but not for males. Findings suggest that uric acid may be implicated in hypertension and cardiovascular health disparities through associations with elevated blood pressure responses to acute social stress, and that low levels of uric acid might be protective, particularly for females.
In this study, the authors explored whether attachment insecurity moderates the effects of adverse childhood experiences on stress reactivity in the context of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Participants were 113 women (39 with BPD, 15 with some BPD criteria present, 59 without any BPD symptoms) who participated in the Trier Social Stress Test. Saliva samples were collected before and after the stressor and assayed for salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and cortisol. Adverse childhood experiences were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and attachment by the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire. Results revealed that attachment avoidance and a combination of more adverse childhood experiences and attachment insecurity resulted in higher sAA levels and differences in reactivity to the stressor. Interactions between attachment anxiety and adverse childhood experiences were related to blunted cortisol reactivity. The results suggest that the influence of adverse childhood experiences on stress regulation in BPD may be moderated by attachment-related regulatory processes.
This experiment demonstrates that chromosomal telomere length (TL) moderates response to injustice among African Americans. Based on worldview verification theory – an emerging psychosocial framework for understanding stress – we predicted that acute stress responses would be most pronounced when individual-level expectancies for justice were discordant with justice experiences. Healthy African Americans (N=118; 30% male; M age=31.63 years) provided dried blood spot samples that were assayed for TL, and completed a social-evaluative stressor task during which high versus low levels of distributive (outcome) and procedural (decision process) justice were simultaneously manipulated. African Americans with longer telomeres appeared more resilient (in emotional and neuroendocrine response-higher DHEAs:cortisol) to receiving an unfair outcome when a fair decision process was used, whereas African Americans with shorter telomeres appeared more resilient when an unfair decision process was used. TL may indicate personal histories of adversity and associated stress-related expectancies that influence responses to injustice.
The goal of this study was to advance understanding of how adolescent conflict appraisals contribute uniquely, and in combination with interparental conflict behavior, to individual differences in adolescent physiological reactivity. Saliva samples were collected from 153 adolescents (52% female; ages 10–17 years) before and after the Trier Social Stress Test. Saliva was assayed for cortisol and alpha-amylase. Results revealed interactive effects between marital conflict and conflict appraisals. For youth who appraised parental conflict negatively (particularly as threatening), negative marital conflict predicted dampened reactivity; for youth who appraised parental conflict less negatively, negative marital conflict predicted heightened reactivity. These findings support the notion that the family context and youth appraisals of family relationships are linked with individual differences in biological sensitivity to context.