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Pericardial fat, socioeconomic status and biological responses to acute mental stress

Miller, Natalie Ella; Steptoe, Andrew; (2023) Pericardial fat, socioeconomic status and biological responses to acute mental stress. Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001169. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Central adiposity is associated with impaired biological responses to mental stress, and socioeconomic status (SES) might moderate this relationship. However, evidence for associations between pericardial fat, a fat depot implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease (CVD), with cardiovascular and inflammatory responses to mental stress is lacking, and moderation by SES is unknown. METHODS: The sample was 473 healthy men and women (mean age 62.8 years) from the Whitehall II study. Cardiovascular and inflammatory responses to laboratory-induced mental stress, consisting of a five minute Stroop task and five minute mirror tracing task, were assessed. Pericardial fat volume was measured using electron bean computed tomography and adjusted for body surface area. SES was defined by grade of employment within the British civil service (higher/intermediate/lower). RESULTS: Pericardial fat was associated with lower heart rate variability, raised heart rate, plasma interleukin-6, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein at baseline. Furthermore, greater pericardial fat was associated with lower systolic blood pressure reactivity to mental stress, independent of sociodemographics, smoking status, waist to hip ratio and baseline systolic blood pressure. There were no interactions between pericardial fat and SES for any outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Greater pericardial fat was associated with numerous cardiovascular and inflammatory factors implicated in CVD. It was also related to reduced systolic blood pressure reactivity to acute mental stress, independent of central adiposity and baseline systolic blood pressure. This association did not vary by SES. Reduced systolic blood pressure reactivity to mental stress might contribute to the association between greater pericardial fat and CVD.

Type: Article
Title: Pericardial fat, socioeconomic status and biological responses to acute mental stress
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001169
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000001169
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.
Keywords: Pericardial fat; Socioeconomic status; Cardiovascular disease; Stress reactivity; Stress recovery
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 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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10164266
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