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Salivary Bioscience News

Latent trait salivary cortisol & stress-related cardiovascular risk factors

Salivary latent trait cortisol (LTC): Relation to lipids, blood pressure, and body composition in middle childhood

Author: Yeung EW, et al (2016), Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Adversity experienced early in life has the potential to influence physical health later in life. The stress-health relation may be partially explained by stress-related effects on cardiovascular risk factors. This study explored links between individual differences in trait-like variation in the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis with cardiovascular risk factors in children. 474 children (M age=9.22years; 54% female; 83% Caucasian) were included in this study, in which cardiovascular risk was assessed using the following indices – triglycerides (TG), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), glucose (Glu); resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, and % fat. Saliva samples were measured 3 times a day (waking, 30min post-waking and bedtime) over 3days (later assayed for cortisol). A latent trait cortisol (LTC) factor explained 43% of the variance in cortisol levels within and across days. Confirmatory factor analysis identified three cardiovascular risk factors: lipids (i.e., TG and HDL-C), blood pressure (i.e., systolic and diastolic), and body composition (i.e., BMI, Waist-to-hip ratio, and % fat). Lower salivary LTC was associated with higher lipids, higher blood pressure, and higher body composition. The findings further support the internal and external validity of the LTC construct, and may also advance our understanding of the link between interindividual differences in HPA axis activity and cardiovascular risk in middle childhood.

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Keywords: Blood pressure, Body composition, Latent trait cortisol (LTC), Lipids, Middle childhood, Toxic stress

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