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Title: Natural killer cell and proinflammatory cytokine responses to mental stress: associations with heart rate and heart rate variability
Author(s): N. Owen and A. Steptoe
Journal: Biol.Psychol.
Year: 2003
Volume: 63
Issue: 2
Pages: 101--115
Publisher address: Psychobiology Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK
File URL: vuams-pubs/Owen_2003.pdf
Keywords: Adult, analysis, Autonomic Nervous System, blood, epidemiology, Female, Heart, Heart Rate, Humans, immunology, Inflammation, Interleukin-6, Killer Cells,Natural, Male, Middle Aged, pharmacology, physiology, Stress,Psychological, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
Abstract: Associations between natural killer (NK) cell, proinflammatory cytokine stress responsivity, and cardiac autonomic responses (indexed by heart rate and heart rate variability) were assessed in 211 middle-aged men and women. Blood was drawn at baseline, immediately following color-word interference and mirror tracing tasks for the assessment of NK cell numbers, and 45 min post-stress for assessing plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) responses. Heart rate variability was measured as the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) in R-R intervals. Increases in NK cell counts following stress were positively associated with heart rate responses independently of age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, and change in hematocrit. Heart rate 45 min post-stress was positively associated with plasma IL-6 post-stress, and with TNFalpha changes from baseline, independently of covariates. No relationship between immune responses and heart rate variability was observed. We conclude that individual differences in sympathetically-driven cardiac stress responses are associated with NK and proinflammatory cytokine responses to psychological stress

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