A 5-year longitudinal study of the relationships between stress, coping, and immune cell beta(2)-adrenergic receptor sensitivity

Mausbach, Brent T; Aschbacher, Kirstin; Mills, Paul J; Roepke, Susan K; von Känel, Roland; Patterson, Thomas L; Dimsdale, Joel E; Ziegler, Michael G; Ancoli-Israel, Sonia; Grant, Igor (2008). A 5-year longitudinal study of the relationships between stress, coping, and immune cell beta(2)-adrenergic receptor sensitivity. Psychiatry research, 160(3), pp. 247-55. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.09.006

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Caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with overall health decline and impaired cardiovascular functioning. This morbidity may be related to the effects of caregiving stress and impaired coping on beta(2)-adrenergic receptors, which mediate hemodynamic and vascular responses and are important for peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) trafficking and cytokine production. This study investigated the longitudinal relationship between stress, personal mastery, and beta(2)-adrenergic receptor sensitivity assessed in vitro on PBMC. Over a 5-year study, 115 spousal AD caregivers completed annual assessments of caregiving stress, mastery, and PBMC beta(2)-adrenergic receptor sensitivity, as assessed by in vitro isoproterenol stimulation. Heightened caregiving stress was associated with significantly decreased receptor sensitivity, whereas greater sense of personal mastery was associated with significantly increased receptor sensitivity. These results suggest that increased stress may be associated with a desensitization of beta(2)-receptors, which may contribute to the development of illness among caregivers. However, increased mastery is associated with increased receptor sensitivity, and may therefore serve as a resource factor for improved health in this population.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology > Centre of Competence for Psychosomatic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

von Känel, Roland










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:06

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:21

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PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/28991 (FactScience: 132898)

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