Longitudinal and cross-sectional relationships between psychological factors, intermediary-biological cardiovascular risk factors and future CHD in patients, individuals with essential hypertension and healthy individuals

“Psychoneurobiological mechanisms in essential hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD)” (Project 1: Longitudinal survey)

Project leader: Petra Wirtz
Project duration: 2011 - 2017
Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P1-128565/1 to PW)

This three-year longitudinal survey conducted at the Inselspital Bern examines whether CHD patients, hypertensive patients and healthy individuals differ from one another with regard to various psychosocial factors such as dealing with emotions, social support or propensity for anger and, if so, if these differences are connected to an increased risk of developing CHD. It also takes personality aspects into account such as those observed in type D personalities who are prone to feeling negative feelings (negative affectivity) that they are unable to express in social interactions (social inhibition). CHD risk is calculated via intermediary biological risk factors such as blood lipids, coagulation and inflammation activity as well as the level of arteriosclerosis. Due to the suspected relevance to the arteriosclerotic process, we will also investigate the microbicidal potential of macrophages in all three test groups using stimulated superoxide anion production.

Zuccarella-Hackl, C., von Kanel, R., Thomas, L., Kuebler, P., Schmid, J.P., Mattle, H.P., Mono, M.L., Rieben, R., Wiest, R. & Wirtz, P.H. (2016). Higher macrophage superoxide anion production in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with Type D personality. Psychoneuroendocrinology 68:186-93.

Zuccarella-Hackl, C., von Kanel, R., Thomas, L., Hauser, M., Kuebler, U., Widmer, H.R. & Wirtz, P.H. (2016). Macrophage superoxide anion production in essential hypertension: associations with biological and psychological cardiovascular risk factors. Psychosom Med 78(6):750-7, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27187852