Procoagulant reactivity to laboratory acute mental stress in Africans and Caucasians, and its relation to depressive symptoms: The SABPA Study
Received: 11 May 2013
Accepted after major revision: 20 July 2013
01 December 2017 (online)
The risk of cardiovascular disease is dramatically increasing in Africans (black). The prothrombotic stress response contributes to atherothrombotic disease and is modulated by depressive symptoms. We examined coagulation reactivity to acute mental stress and its relation to psychological well-being in Africans relative to Caucasians (white). A total of 102 African and 165 Caucasian school teachers underwent the Stroop Color-Word Conflict test. Circulating levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) antigen, fibrinogen, and D-dimer were measured before and after the Stroop. Cardiovascular reactivity measures were also obtained. All participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and the General Health Questionnaire-28 for the assessment of depressive symptoms and total psychological distress, respectively. After controlling for covariates, resting levels of VWF, fibrinogen, and D-dimer were higher in Africans than in Caucasians (all p-values ≤0.006). Depressive symptoms and psychological distress were not significantly associated with resting coagulation measures. Stress reactivity in VWF (p<0.001) and fibrinogen (p=0.016), but not in D-dimer (p=0.27), were decreased in Africans relative to Caucasians with Africans showing greater reactivity of total peripheral resistance (p=0.017). Depressive symptoms, but not general psychological distress, were associated with greater VWF increase (p=0.029) and greater fibrinogen decrease (p=0.030) in Africans relative to Caucasians. In conclusion, Africans showed greater hypercoagulability at rest but diminished procoagulant reactivity to acute mental stress when compared with Caucasians. Ethnic differences in the vascular adrenergic stress response might partially explain this finding. Depressive symptoms were associated with exaggerated VWF reactivity in Africans relative to Caucasians. The clinical implications of these findings for Africans need further study.
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