This proposal is responsive to PA-10-139 entitled, "Secondary Analyses of Social and Behavioral Datasets in Aging (R03)". The long-term goals of our research program are to examine the impact of chronic stress and psychosocial factors on metabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and to investigate the biologic mechanisms underlying these associations. The PI has an active study (1R21HL091290) using data from the NIA/NINR-funded Study of Women's Health across the Nation (SWAN), and the ancillary SWAN Mental Health Study, to investigate the impact of depression on adiponectin and leptin. Adiponectin is the most abundant anti-inflammatory adipocytokine secreted by adipocytes and leptin is a pro-inflammatory adipocytokine intimately involved in metabolic regulation, energy balance, and autonomic nervous system functioning. The proposed study will significantly enhance this work by expanding the breadth of psychosocial measures available to us. We propose to utilize additional existing SWAN data on multiple measures of chronic stress (financial strain, perceived stress, stressful life events, perceived discrimination) and psychosocial functioning (hostility, anxiety, optimism, social support), together with the adiponectin and leptin data from the PI's active R21, to examine both cross-sectional and 5-year longitudinal associations between stress/psychosocial factors and these critical obesity-related inflammatory markers in 581 SWAN participants (225 black women, 356 white women).
Aims are: 1) to determine if chronic stress is associated with baseline and 5-year changes in adiponectin and leptin levels;and 2) to determine if psychosocial factors are associated with baseline and 5-year changes in adiponectin and leptin levels. Secondary aims are to examine pathways among the measures of stress and psychosocial functioning, including depression, and these obesity-related inflammatory markers, and to investigate potential race differences in the hypothesized associations. The project will provide crucial data that will foster development of a more comprehensive and integrative biopsychosocial framework to guide future studies and achieve the goals of our research program. By adding to a study already in progress (R21HL091290) and utilizing the richness of the existing SWAN data, the proposed study will allow a fuller characterization of psychological and social processes that may relate to important adipokine biomarkers in women. Thus, this work has the potential to greatly expand our understanding of a critical inflammatory pathway by which stress and psychosocial factors may contribute to metabolic dysregulation and CVD risk in women. Moreover, the study addresses the critical public health problems of obesity and cardiovascular disease and thus has high public health relevance.
The proposed study has high public health relevance as it will yield important information about pathways by which stress and psychosocial factors may lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease in women. These diseases are leading causes of death and disability in the US and worldwide. Knowledge gained likely will contribute to future treatment and prevention efforts for these critical public health problems.