The stress of public speaking is enough to drive damage-repairing progenitor cells out of the bone marrow into the blood, a study of patients with heart disease has found.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are found in the bone marrow, and thought to repair damaged blood vessels once mobilized into the blood by injury or stress. Previous research has shown that strenuous exercise can lead to a dramatic increase in blood EPC levels, but the effects of psychological stress on EPCs had not been examined before.
The new findings were presented Saturday, March 9 at the American College of Cardiology conference in San Francisco. The presenter was cardiovascular research fellow Ronnie Ramadan, MD. Senior authors are Arshed Quyyumi, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Emory Cardiovascular Research Institute, and Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health.
In some patients with coronary artery disease, mental stress may precipitate ischemia– a deficiency in blood flow to the heart â€“ a risk factor for adverse events and death independent of other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, cholesterol and diabetes.