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The effect of beta-adrenergic blockade on inflammatory and cardiovascular responses to acute mental stress

Steptoe, A; Ronaldson, A; Kostich, K; Lazzarino, AI; Urbanova, L; Carvalho, LA; (2018) The effect of beta-adrenergic blockade on inflammatory and cardiovascular responses to acute mental stress. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity , 70 pp. 369-375. 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.03.027. Green open access

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Abstract

Acute mental stress elicits increases in plasma cytokine concentrations in humans, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We assessed the impact of beta-adrenergic blockade on plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) responses in a parallel group, double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial involving 64 healthy young adult volunteers. Participants were administered 80 mg slow-release propranolol or placebo daily for 7 days before the stress testing session in which responses to 3 behavioural challenges (public speaking, mirror tracing, mental arithmetic) were evaluated. Propranolol administration was associated with reduced baseline levels of heart rate and IL-1Ra, and systolic blood pressure (BP) in men. Tasks stimulated increased plasma IL-6 concentrations sampled 45 min and 75 min after challenge, but these responses were blocked by propranolol in men (p < 0.001). Propranolol did not influence IL-6 responses in women, or IL-1Ra in either sex. Blood pressure and heart rate increased markedly during the tasks, but there was no differential stress reactivity in propranolol and placebo conditions. The results of the study support a role of sympathetic nervous system activation in stimulating acute IL-6 responses to stress, but only in men. The reasons for the differences between men and women remain to be resolved.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of beta-adrenergic blockade on inflammatory and cardiovascular responses to acute mental stress
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.03.027
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2018.03.027
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Inflammation, Stress, Sympathetic nervous system, Sex differences, Blood pressure, Pharmacological blockade
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047044
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