Salivary alpha-amylase stress reactivity across different age groups.

Department of Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
Psychophysiology (Impact Factor: 3.29). 05/2010; 47(3):587-95. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00957.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT tract Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) increases rapidly in response to psychosocial stress in young adults, but no direct comparisons between different age groups across the life span have been made. Secretion of sAA and cortisol was assessed in children, young adults, and older adults after exposure to the Trier Social Stress Test. Additionally, cardiovascular activity was measured in both adult groups. Older adults showed attenuated sAA, heart rate (HR), and heart rate variability (HRV) responses. Furthermore, we found higher sAA but lower cortisol at baseline as well as lower sAA and cortisol responses in children. Age x sex interactions were observed only for cortisol with higher responses in older male participants. No associations between the parameters were found. These results implicate sAA as an alternative or additional sympathetic stress marker throughout the life span, with marked and rapid stress responsiveness in three relevant age groups.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stress has been associated with negative changes observed during the aging process. However, very little research has been carried out on the role of age in acute stress effects on memory. We aimed to explore the role of age and sex in the relationship between hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) reactivity to psychosocial stress and short-term declarative memory performance. To do so, sixty-seven participants divided into two age groups (each group with a similar number of men and women) were exposed to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and a control condition in a crossover design. Memory performance was assessed by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). As expected, worse memory performance was associated with age; but more interestingly, the stressor impaired recall after interference only in the older group. In addition, this effect was negatively correlated with the alpha-amylase over cortisol ratio, which has recently been suggested as a good marker of stress system dysregulation. However, we failed to find sex differences in memory performance. These results show that age moderates stress-induced effects on declarative memory, and they point out the importance of studying both of the physiological systems involved in the stress response together.
    Hormones and Behavior 01/2014; · 3.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract The stress of dental treatment often elicits negative emotions in children, expressed as dental fear or anxiety. Highly anxious children obstruct treatment and avoid therapy, further amplifying oral health problems. The aim of the present study was to examine in school children the neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system responses to dental treatment and their possible interactions and associations with psychometric indices of anxiety, caries, previous dental experience, anesthesia, age and gender. Upon informed consent, saliva was obtained from 97 children (59% males, mean age +/-SD: 89.73 +/-15 months) in the Clinic of pediatric dentistry before treatment, immediately post-treatment and at the recall visit to determine cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) levels. Dental and general anxiety was assessed through specific questionnaires completed by the children. Compared to pre-treatment, cortisol levels were increased following treatment, while sAA levels were higher at the recall. Pre- and post-treatment cortisol and sAA responses were positively correlated. Dental and general anxiety questionnaire scores were also significantly correlated with each other. The integrated autonomic and neuroendocrine responses prior to treatment were correlated with state anxiety and those following treatment with dental anxiety. However, univariable and multivariable linear regression analysis associated post-treatment cortisol, but not sAA, levels with dental anxiety. No associations of cortisol or sAA responses with caries, age, gender, previous dental experience or anesthesia were detected. These data provide some evidence that both sAA and cortisol levels are altered in children in anticipation or during dental treatment, but only cortisol levels are associated to dental anxiety.
    Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 04/2014; · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increased stress reactivity during adolescence coincides with maturation of cognitive abilities and development of the prefrontal cortex. Although the effects of early-life, chronic, and pervasive stress on cognition have been extensively explored across development, very little is known about the effects of naturalistic, daily stress on adolescent cognition. In this study, our goal was to use a naturalistic approach to determine whether participants' own stressful experiences from daily life impacted cognitive performance and associated neural correlates. Adolescent and adult participants provided daily ratings of stress and underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) twice: once under a self-reported "high-stress" state and once under a self-reported "low-stress" state. While in the scanner, participants performed a response inhibition task. Behaviorally, all participants exhibited worse response inhibition under high, versus low, stress states, an effect that was significantly stronger in adolescents. At the neural level, there was a significant age by stress interaction, such that adolescents exhibited less recruitment of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during inhibition under high-stress versus low-stress; adults evinced the opposite activation pattern in DLPFC. These data suggest that the developing brain may be a more vulnerable target to the cognitive and neurobiological effects of daily stress.
    NeuroImage 02/2014; · 6.25 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 3, 2014