Controversies exist regarding the impact of psychological stress on the functioning of the immune system in humans. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to evaluate whether the condition of a pre-exam stress may or not modify resting lymphocyte subsets, as well as blood pressure and heart rate. About 22 medical residents of both sexes not suffering from any medical or psychiatric disorder were included in the study. Anxiety levels were measured by means of the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HRSA) and anxiety traits by means of the panic-agoraphobic spectrum self-report (PAS-SR) version and the obsessive-compulsive spectrum self-report (OBS-SR) version. The results showed that systolic blood pressure and heart rate increased significantly just before sitting an examination (t(1)) in all subjects, as compared with a calm situation (t(2)), in parallel with the increase in the HRSA total score, while no significant difference was observed in lymphocyte subsets at the two assessment times. However, men had a higher number of CD4+ cells than women at t(1) and t(2), while women showed a higher heart rate at t(1). In addition, significant correlations between CD4+ lymphocyte count and heart rate at t(1) or HRSA at t(2) were detected. These findings indicate that the acute stress determined by sitting for examination provokes changes in autonomic nervous system parameters, such as blood pressure and heart rate, as well as in the subjective feeling of anxiety, as shown by the increased HRSA total scores, which were not paralleled by modifications of lymphocyte subsets. However, individual differences, related to both sex and personality traits yet to be identified, seem to have an impact in shaping the stress response.

Lymphocite subsets, cardiovascular measures and anxiety state before and after a professional examination

MARAZZITI, DONATELLA;MASSIMETTI, GABRIELE;DELL'OSSO, LILIANA
2007

Abstract

Controversies exist regarding the impact of psychological stress on the functioning of the immune system in humans. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to evaluate whether the condition of a pre-exam stress may or not modify resting lymphocyte subsets, as well as blood pressure and heart rate. About 22 medical residents of both sexes not suffering from any medical or psychiatric disorder were included in the study. Anxiety levels were measured by means of the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HRSA) and anxiety traits by means of the panic-agoraphobic spectrum self-report (PAS-SR) version and the obsessive-compulsive spectrum self-report (OBS-SR) version. The results showed that systolic blood pressure and heart rate increased significantly just before sitting an examination (t(1)) in all subjects, as compared with a calm situation (t(2)), in parallel with the increase in the HRSA total score, while no significant difference was observed in lymphocyte subsets at the two assessment times. However, men had a higher number of CD4+ cells than women at t(1) and t(2), while women showed a higher heart rate at t(1). In addition, significant correlations between CD4+ lymphocyte count and heart rate at t(1) or HRSA at t(2) were detected. These findings indicate that the acute stress determined by sitting for examination provokes changes in autonomic nervous system parameters, such as blood pressure and heart rate, as well as in the subjective feeling of anxiety, as shown by the increased HRSA total scores, which were not paralleled by modifications of lymphocyte subsets. However, individual differences, related to both sex and personality traits yet to be identified, seem to have an impact in shaping the stress response.
Marazziti, Donatella; Ambrogi, F; Abelli, M; DI NASSO, E; CATENA DELL'OSSO, M; Massimetti, Gabriele; Carlini, M; Dell'Osso, Liliana
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/204337
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