Washington, Feb 10 (ANI): Early life stress increases sensitivity to a hormone known to increase blood pressure and increases your cardiovascular risk in adult life, researchers have reported.
"We think early life stress increases sensitivity to a hormone known to increase your blood pressure and increases your cardiovascular risk in adult life," said Dr. Jennifer Pollock, biochemist in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia and corresponding author on the study published online in Hypertension.
The studies in a proven model of chronic behavioral stress - separating rat pups from their mother three hours daily for two weeks - showed no long-term impact on key indicators of cardiovascular disease such as increased blood pressure, heart rate or inflammation in blood vessel walls.
But when the rats reached adulthood, an infusion of the hormone angiotensin II resulted in rapid and dramatic increases in all key indicators in animals that experienced early life stress. Stress activates the renin-angiotensin system which produces angiotensin II and is a major regulator of blood vessel growth and inflammation - both heavily implicated in heart disease.
"They cannot adapt to stress as well as a normal animal does," Dr. Pollock said. Within a few days, for example, blood pressure was nearly twice as high in the early-stress animals. (ANI)