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[Article in Press]

Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Author(s): Glenk, LM; Kothgassner, OD; Felnhofer, A; Gotovina, J; Pranger, CL; Jensen, AN; Mothes-Luksch, N; Goreis, A; Palme, R; Jensen-Jarolim, E

Title: Salivary Cortisol responses to acute stress vary between allergic and healthy individuals: The role of plasma oxytocin, emotion regulation strategies, reported stress and anxiety.

Source: Stress. 2019; 1-31

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Glenk Lisa-Maria
Gotovina Jelena
Jensen-Jarolim Erika
Palme Rupert
Pranger Christina

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Medicine
Institute of Physiology, Pathohysiology and Biophysics, Unit of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Experimental Endocrinology

Project(s): Cell communication in health and disease

Development of mimotope vaccines for preclinical and comparative medicine studies

Numerous studies have demonstrated that acute psychological stress, induced by the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) paradigm, affects salivary cortisol secretion and self-reported stress measures including anxiety. Allergy has been related to altered cortisol responsiveness and increased stress vulnerability. Here, we investigated acute stress responses and emotion regulation strategies in cohorts of allergic and healthy individuals. Groups of allergics and healthy individuals were subjected to the TSST and experienced levels of stress and anxiety as well as emotion regulation strategies were assessed. Cortisol and oxytocin concentrations were measured in saliva or plasma. The present findings confirm earlier results of altered stress responsiveness in allergic individuals. Acute stress by the TSST evoked higher physiological arousal in allergics by means of salivary cortisol secretion. Allergics also scored higher on emotion suppression. However, individuals who were more likely to use reappraisal recovered more efficiently from the cortisol increase. No such effect for reappraisal was found in the healthy population. No differences in self-reported anxiety and stress emerged between the groups. Plasma oxytocin levels prior to the TSST were significantly higher in allergics. Our data corroborate earlier findings on altered stress susceptibility in allergics. Moreover, we identified differences in emotion regulation and oxytocin secretion which should be further explored. Accounting for the emerging global prevalence of allergy, more in-depth research into the experience of stress, coping strategies and stress-related molecules in allergic people is warranted.

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