Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress making your blood pressure rise? Blame your immune system

Date:
March 5, 2012
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
If stress is giving you high blood pressure, blame the immune system. T cells, helpful for fighting infections, are also necessary for mice to show an increase in blood pressure after a period of psychological stress, scientists have found. The findings suggest the effects of chronic stress on cardiovascular health may be a side effect of having an immune system that can defend us from infection. There also are potential implications for treating both high blood pressure and anxiety disorders.

For a mouse, being placed in another mouse's dirty cage induces stress and a rise in blood pressure.
Credit: Image courtesy of Emory University

If stress is giving you high blood pressure, blame the immune system. T cells, helpful for fighting infections, are also necessary for mice to show an increase in blood pressure after a period of psychological stress, scientists have found.

The findings suggest that the effects of chronic stress on cardiovascular health may be a side effect of having an immune system that can defend us from infection. The results also have potential implications for treating both high blood pressure and anxiety disorders.

The results are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

"Chronic stress has long been known to have harmful effects on the immune system as well as being a risk factor for hypertension," says lead author Paul Marvar, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine. "Our goal was to examine the role of T cells in stress-dependent hypertension."

Marvar began his research under the guidance of David Harrison, MD, who moved from Emory to Vanderbilt University in 2011. He completed his work in the laboratory of Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD. Ressler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory, and maintains a laboratory at Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

In the current study, researchers subjected mice to psychological stress by confining them in a small space for one hour and then putting them in cages where other mice had already left their scents. Two hours of stress per day, for a week, results in a short term rise in systolic blood pressure in normal mice.

However, mice that were genetically engineered to lack T cells did not display an increase in blood pressure under the same regimen. Introducing T cells into mice that lacked them made their blood pressure sensitive to stress again.

Harrison and his colleagues had previously shown that T cells are needed for the increase in blood pressure coming from high dietary salt or the hormone angiotensin, which regulates blood pressure, and continue to investigate the role of T cells in high blood pressure.

Several studies in animals have suggested that medications now used to control blood pressure, such as angiotensin receptor blockers or ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors, may also be helpful in the reduction of stress and anxiety, Marvar says.

"Further understanding the mechanisms underlying these observations and determining whether they may benefit people with anxiety disorders, for example post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a current goal of my research," he says.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and many people take medications to reduce their blood pressure. Yet some find that medications are not effective in controlling their blood pressure, and researchers are investigating various alternative approaches.

"There are still many unanswered questions about clinical relevance and safety in treating hypertensive patients by targeting the immune system," Marvar says. "Understanding what triggers the immune response in hypertension will ultimately guide the feasibility of future clinical applications."

The research was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and by the Emory University Scholars Program in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University. The original article was written by Quinn Eastman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul J. Marvar, Antony Vinh, Salim Thabet, Heinrich E. Lob, Duke Geem, Kerry J. Ressler, David G. Harrison. T Lymphocytes and Vascular Inflammation Contribute to Stress-Dependent Hypertension. Biological Psychiatry, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.01.017

Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Stress making your blood pressure rise? Blame your immune system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305103203.htm>.
Emory University. (2012, March 5). Stress making your blood pressure rise? Blame your immune system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305103203.htm
Emory University. "Stress making your blood pressure rise? Blame your immune system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120305103203.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins