Asthma is worsened by increased stress

Chronic stress causes asthma exacerbations by reducing the expression of genes that code for receptors for hormones that normally dilate airways, a Canadian study has shown.

The researchers carried out the study to find out why asthmatic children exposed to chronic stress experience greater asthma symptoms.

To see if the problem was mediated by changes in the expression of signalling receptors for stress hormones, the researchers analysed samples of leukocytes from 77 children with an average age of 13.5 years.

Half the children had asthma and the other half were healthy.

Asthmatic children exposed to chronic and acute stress had a 5.5-fold reduction in glucocorticoid receptor mRNA, and a 9.5-fold reduction of beta 2adrenergic receptor mRNA compared to unstressed asthmatic children.

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