β2-Adrenergic receptor density and cardiovascular response to mental stress
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In this study we evaluated effects of an acute experimental stressor on β2-adrenoceptor density and examined the relationships of baseline receptor density to cardiovascular reactions induced by stress. In addition, we investigated whether any observed alterations in receptor density were associated with concomitant redistribution of circulating lymphocyte populations. Receptor density and lymphocyte subsets were determined before and immediately following performance of a frustrating laboratory task in 22 male volunteers. Blood pressure, heart rate (HR), and plasma catecholamine concentrations were also assessed at baseline and during task performance. Parallel measurements were obtained among 11 unstressed control subjects. Receptor density increased significantly between baseline and posttask measurements, but equally so in experimental and control subjects. Numbers of T suppressor/cytotoxic and natural killer cells increased selectively among subjects assigned to the experimental (stress) condition. However, there was no association between lymphocyte subset distribution and receptor density. Interindividual variability in pretask receptor density correlated significantly with heart rate and systolic blood pressure (SBP) reactivity during the initial 3 min of mental stress, but not over the entire task period. In addition, baseline receptor density correlated with SBP (but not HR) reactivity after covariance adjustment for the concomitant change in plasma catecholamine concentrations.