Associations between trait anxiety, insulin resistance, and atherosclerosis in the elderly: a pilot cross-sectional study.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Apr; 33(3):305-12.P
Anxiety has been shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is responsible for the vast majority of cardiovascular events. Recent evidence is accumulating to show that insulin resistance (IR) plays a central role in determining the clinical manifestations of established atherosclerotic lesions. The current preliminary study aimed to investigate the associations between trait anxiety, IR, and atherosclerotic progression in healthy elderly subjects with normal fasting glucose and without metabolic syndrome. Thirty-five healthy elderly subjects (19 males and 16 females, mean age 64.5+/-4.7 years) were enrolled in this study. Trait anxiety was measured using a questionnaire corresponding to the trait anxiety scale taken from the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory. The homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-R) and plasma leptin-to-adiponectin ratio (L/A ratio), which are convenient IR indexes calculated from fasting blood sampling, were examined. As measurements of atherosclerotic progression, we performed two ultrasound methods, namely brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), an endothelial function assessment quantitatively reflecting the endothelium-dependent vasodilation responses following hyperemia, and measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). The severity of trait anxiety was positively associated with HOMA-R and L/A ratio, and negatively associated with the percent change of brachial artery FMD (%FMD). HOMA-R and L/A ratio were positively associated with carotid IMT, and L/A ratio was negatively associated with %FMD. These data showed the associations between trait anxiety, IR indexes and endothelial dysfunction or atherosclerotic progression. This pilot study, with a cross-sectional design, supports the promising role of IR for clarifying the pathophysiological mechanism by which anxiety contributes to an increasing risk of atherosclerosis.