Young women with coronary artery disease exhibit higher concentrations of interleukin-6 at baseline and in response to mental stress

Samaah Sullivan, Muhammad Hammadah, Kobina Wilmot, Ronnie Ramadan, Brad D. Pearce, Amit Shah, Belal Kaseer, Mohamad Mazen Gafeer, Bruno B. Lima, Jeong Hwan Kim, Laura Ward, Yi An Ko, Tené T. Lewis, Allison Hankus, Lisa Elon, Lian Li, J. Douglas Bremner, Paolo Raggi, Arshed Quyyumi, Viola Vaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background-—Young women with coronary artery disease (CAD), a group with high psychosocial burden, were previously shown to have higher levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) compared with men of similar age. We sought to examine IL-6 response to acute stress in CAD patients across sex and age, and contrast results to healthy controls and other biomarkers known to increase with mental stress (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and matrix metallopeptidase-9) and known limited stress-reactivity (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein). Methods and Results-—Inflammatory biomarkers were measured at rest and 90 minutes after mental stress (speech task) among 819 patients with CAD and 89 healthy controls. Repeated-measures models were used to investigate age (continuous) and sex differences across time, before and after adjusting for demographics, CAD risk factors, depressive symptoms, medication use, and CAD severity. Among patients with CAD, the mean age was 60 years (range, 25–79) and 31% were women. Younger women with CAD had significantly higher concentrations of IL-6 at rest, 90 minutes after mental stress, as well as a higher response to stress, compared with similarly aged men (P<0.05 for sex by age interactions). In contrast, IL-6 increased with age, and there were no sex differences in IL-6 levels or response to stress among controls. Inflammatory responses to stress for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and matrix metallopeptidase-9 among CAD patients were similar in women and men. Conclusions-—IL-6 response to mental stress are higher in young women with CAD than men of similar age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere010329
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin
  • Mental stress
  • Stress test
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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