Salivary α‐amylase stress reactivity across different age groups

Department of Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
Psychophysiology (Impact Factor: 3.18). 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.

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Available from: Clemens Kirschbaum, Sep 27, 2015
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    • "All these results confirm that the stress task used was able to produce an ANS and HPA-axis response. Finally, higher cortisol baseline and response to stress was found in men than in women, as in previous studies (Almela et al., 2011b; Strahler et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Some personality traits have key importance for health because they can affect the maintenance and evolution of different disorders with a high prevalence in older people, including stress pathologies and diseases. In this study we investigated how two relevant personality traits, optimism and pessimism, affect the psychophysiological response of 72 healthy participants (55 to 76years old) exposed to either a psychosocial stress task (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) or a control task; salivary cortisol, heart rate (HR) and situational appraisal were measured. Our results showed that optimism was related to faster cortisol recovery after exposure to stress. Pessimism was not related to the physiological stress response, but it was associated with the perception of the stress task as more difficult. Thus, higher optimism was associated with better physiological adjustment to a stressful situation, while higher pessimism was associated with worse psychological adjustment to stress. These results highlight different patterns of relationships, with optimism playing a more important role in the physiological component of the stress response, and pessimism having a greater effect on situational appraisal.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.09.002 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Moreover, we tested whether sAA levels significantly changed over time in each trial by calculating general linear models with repeated salivary measures in each trial separately to obtain information regarding significance of main effects of time. As we decided against weight adjustment of infusion concentrations and in light of previously reported associations of cardiovascular risk factors and indicators for SNS activity (Strahler et al., 2010) we controlled for the cardiovascular risk factors BMI, age, and MAP in all repeated sAA analyses as an a-priori defined set of covariates. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mental stress reliably induces increases in salivary alpha amylase (sAA), a suggested surrogate marker for sympathetic nervous system (SNS) reactivity. While stress-induced sAA increases correlate with norepinephrine (NE) secretion, a potential mediating role of noradrenergic mechanisms remains unclear. In this study, we investigated for the first time in humans whether a NE-stress-reactivity mimicking NE-infusion with and without alpha-adrenergic blockade by phentolamine would induce changes in sAA. METHODS: In a single-blind placebo-controlled within-subjects design, 21 healthy men (29-66 years) took part in three different experimental trials varying in terms of substance infusion with a 1-min first infusion followed by a 15-min second infusion: saline-infusion (trial-1), NE-infusion (5 μg/min) without alpha-adrenergic blockade (trial-2), and with phentolamine-induced non-selective blockade of alpha1- and alpha2-adrenergic receptors (trial-3). Saliva samples were collected immediately before, during, and several times after substance infusion in addition to blood pressure and heart rate readings. RESULTS: Experimental trials significantly differed in sAA reactivity to substance-infusion (p=.001) with higher sAA reactivity following NE-infusion with (trial-3; p=.001) and without alpha-adrenergic-blockade (trial-2; p=.004) as compared to placebo-infusion (trial-1); sAA infusion reactivity did not differ between trial-2 and trial-3 (p=.29). Effective phentolamine application was verified by blood pressure and heart rate infusion reactivity. Salivary cortisol was not affected by NE, either with or without alpha-adrenergic-blockade. CONCLUSIONS: We found that NE-infusion stimulates sAA secretion, regardless of co-administered non-selective alpha-adrenergic blockade by phentolamine, suggesting that the mechanism underlying stress-induced sAA increases may involve NE.
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 08/2014; 49C(1):290-298. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.07.023 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    • "In our study we did not find sex differences in the cortisol response to the stress induction. This finding is not in agreement with previous research that showed that men reacted to the TSST with a larger cortisol increase than women (Kudielka et al., 2004; Strahler et al., 2010; Almela et al., 2011b). Additionally, we consider that the overall cortisol response to the TSST was moderate because the mean peak of cortisol was 6.5 nmol/l, whereas in the later studies cortisol concentrations have reached 10 nmol/l or more. "
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    ABSTRACT: Age-related memory decline has been associated with a faulty regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the magnitude of the stress-induced cortisol increase is related to memory performance when memory is measured in non-stressful conditions. To do so, declarative and working memory performance were measured in 31 men and 35 women between 55 and 77 years of age. On a different day, the magnitude of their cortisol response to acute psychosocial stress was measured. The relationship between the cortisol response and memory performance was U shaped: a low cortisol response to stress was related to poorer declarative and working memory performance, whereas those who did not increase their cortisol levels and those who had the largest cortisol increase had better declarative and working memory capabilities. Sex did not moderate these relationships. These results suggest that a low cortisol response to stress could reflect a defective HPA-axis response to stressors that is accompanied by poorer memory performance. Conversely, a high cortisol response seems to reflect a correct functioning of the HPA-axis and may protect against memory deficits in the later stages of human life.
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