Psychophysiology



Cortisol and cardiovascular reactions to mental stress and antibody status following hepatitis B vaccination: A preliminary study


VICTORIA E.  BURNS  a1 c1, CHRISTOPHER  RING  a1, MARK  DRAYSON  a2 and DOUGLAS  CARROLL  a1
a1 School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
a2 Department of Immunology, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Abstract

This study examined possible neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the association between stress and antibody response to vaccination. Hepatitis B antibody titers were obtained, and salivary cortisol and cardiovascular activity measured during baseline, mental arithmetic, and recovery in 30 undergraduates. It was hypothesised that higher reactivity would be associated with poorer antibody status. Compared to individuals with high antibody titers, those with low titers had significantly lower cortisol levels throughout, exhibited a significantly attenuated end-of-task reduction in cortisol relative to resting baseline, and had larger cardiac output and inotropic reactions, but smaller increases in total peripheral resistance, to mental arithmetic. In sum, variations in indices of both hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical axis and sympathetic nervous system activity were associated with individual differences in immune response to vaccination.

(Received July 5 2001)
(Accepted October 19 2001)


Key Words: Cortisol; Cardiovascular activity; Hepatitis B vaccination; Hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical axis; Mental stress; Sympathetic nervous system.

Correspondence:
c1 Address reprint requests to: Victoria E. Burns, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, England. E-mail: V.E.Burns@bham.ac.uk.