Increases in lipids and immune cells in response to exercise and mental stress in patients with suspected coronary artery disease: Effects of adjustment for shifts in plasma volume

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This study examined the role of shifts in plasma volume on lipid and immune reactions to stress. Lipid, immune, rheological, and cardiovascular reactions to exercise and mental stress in 51 patients with suspected coronary artery disease were determined. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured during and blood samples taken at the end of each rest and task. Lipids (total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL) and immune cells (lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes) increased with exercise, whereas cholesterol, LDL, and lymphocytes increased with mental stress. Plasma volume decreased by 1 and 5% following mental and exercise stress, respectively. The task-induced increases in lipids were no longer statistically significant following adjustment for changes in plasma volume, whereas the increases in immune cell numbers survived such correction. This study provides evidence that, in coronary artery disease patients, exercise and mental stress-induced increases in lipids but not immune cells can be largely accounted for by shifts in plasma volume.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • mental stress, coronary artery disease, plasma volume, lipids, exercise, immune cells