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


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Clemens Kirschbaum
    • "We, however, did not have a clear hypothesis on HR response after psychological stress, due to the inconsistent and limited amount of literature in relation to ageing (Almela et al., 2011; Strahler et al., 2010; Kudielka et al., 2004a), and when taking beta blocker use into account, this effect was abolished. Still, baseline heart rate tended to be lower in offspring. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individuals enriched for familial longevity display a lower prevalence of age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular- and metabolic diseases. Since these diseases are associated with stress and increased cortisol levels, one of the underlying mechanisms that may contribute to healthy longevity might be a more adaptive response to stress. To investigate this, male middle-aged offspring from long-lived families (n=31) and male non-offspring (with no familial history of longevity) (n=26) were randomly allocated to the Trier Social Stress Test or a control condition in an experimental design. Physiological (cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate) and subjective responses were measured during the entire procedure. The results showed that Offspring had lower overall cortisol levels compared to Non-offspring regardless of condition, and lower absolute cortisol output (AUCg) during stress compared to Non-Offspring, while the increase (AUCi) did not differ between groups. In addition, systolic blood pressure in Offspring was lower compared to Non-offspring during the entire procedure. At baseline, Offspring had significantly lower systolic bloodpressure and reported less subjective stress than Non-offspring and showed a trend towards lower heart rate. Offspring from long-lived families might thus be less stressed prior to potentially stressful events and consequently show overall lower levels in physiological responses. Although attenuated physiological responding cannot be ruled out, lower starting points and a lower peak level in physiological responding when confronted with an actual stressor, might already limit damage due to stress over a lifetime. Lower physiological responding may also contribute to the lower prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and other stress-related diseases in healthy longevity.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
  • Source
    • "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. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
Show more