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J R Soc Med. 1987 June; 80(6): 339–342.
PMCID: PMC1290850

Plasma catecholamines and lipoproteins in chronic psychological stress.


Changes in plasma catecholamines, lipoproteins and dietary intake were examined in 13 medical students during a 3-month period prior to their examinations, and in 12 controls. In the medical students mean +/- s.e.(mean) plasma cholesterol increased over the study period (3.98 +/- 0.16 v. 4.26 +/- 0.16 mmol/l, P less than 0.05) and this was reflected by a rise in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (2.53 +/- 0.15 v. 2.71 +/- 0.17 mmol/l, P less than 0.05). Both supine adrenaline (0.45 +/- 0.05 v. 0.70 +/- 0.07 nmol/l, P less than 0.01) and noradrenaline (2.74 +/- 0.18 v. 3.40 +/- 0.31 nmol/l, P less than 0.05) increased over this period. Apart from a decline in the modest alcohol consumption (9.1 +/- 3.45 v. 2.6 +/- 1.4 g/day, P less than 0.02) there was no change in dietary intake in the medical students. There were no significant changes in plasma catecholamines, lipoproteins or dietary intake in control subjects over the study period. Changes in catecholamines and lipoproteins occurring in association with chronic psychological stress may contribute to the increased coronary heart disease mortality associated with Type A behaviour and stressful life events.

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Selected References

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