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Adiposity is associated with blunted cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and cognitive responses to acute mental stress.

Jones, A; McMillan, MR; Jones, RW; Kowalik, GT; Steeden, JA; Deanfield, JE; Pruessner, JC; ... Muthurangu, V; + view all (2012) Adiposity is associated with blunted cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and cognitive responses to acute mental stress. PLoS One , 7 (6) , Article e39143. 10.1371/journal.pone.0039143. Green open access

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Abstract

Obesity and mental stress are potent risk factors for cardiovascular disease but their relationship with each other is unclear. Resilience to stress may differ according to adiposity. Early studies that addressed this are difficult to interpret due to conflicting findings and limited methods. Recent advances in assessment of cardiovascular stress responses and of fat distribution allow accurate assessment of associations between adiposity and stress responsiveness. We measured responses to the Montreal Imaging Stress Task in healthy men (N = 43) and women (N = 45) with a wide range of BMIs. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) measures were used with novel magnetic resonance measures of stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (CO), total peripheral resistance (TPR) and arterial compliance to assess cardiovascular responses. Salivary cortisol and the number and speed of answers to mathematics problems in the task were used to assess neuroendocrine and cognitive responses, respectively. Visceral and subcutaneous fat was measured using T(2) (*)-IDEAL. Greater BMI was associated with generalised blunting of cardiovascular (HR:β = -0.50 bpm x unit(-1), P = 0.009; SV:β = -0.33 mL x unit(-1), P = 0.01; CO:β = -61 mL x min(-1) x unit(-1), P = 0.002; systolic BP:β = -0.41 mmHg x unit(-1), P = 0.01; TPR:β = 0.11 WU x unit(-1), P = 0.02), cognitive (correct answers: r = -0.28, P = 0.01; time to answer: r = 0.26, P = 0.02) and endocrine responses (cortisol: r = -0.25, P = 0.04) to stress. These associations were largely determined by visceral adiposity except for those related to cognitive performance, which were determined by both visceral and subcutaneous adiposity. Our findings suggest that adiposity is associated with centrally reduced stress responsiveness. Although this may mitigate some long-term health risks of stress responsiveness, reduced performance under stress may be a more immediate negative consequence.

Type: Article
Title: Adiposity is associated with blunted cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and cognitive responses to acute mental stress.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039143
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039143
Language: English
Additional information: © 2012 Jones et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The Centre for Cardiovascular MR and AJ are funded by the UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) via the Great Ormond Street Hospital/Institute of Child Health Biomedical Research Centre. GK is funded by an educational research grant from Siemens Medical Systems. JD is funded by a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Chair of Cardiology. AMT is funded by an NIHR Senior Research Fellowship & The Fondation Leducq. VM is funded by a BHF Intermediate Fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: Adiposity, Adolescent, Adult, Blood Pressure, Cardiac Output, Cardiovascular System, Cognition, Female, Heart Rate, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Stress, Psychological, Young Adult
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Children's Cardiovascular Disease
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Clinical Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360321
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