Prior work has repeatedly demonstrated that people who have current major depression exhibit blunted cardiovascular reactivity to acute stressors (e.g., Salomon et al., 2009). A key question regards the psychobiological basis for these deficits, including whether such deficits are depressed mood-state dependent or whether these effects are trait-like and are observed outside of depression episodes in vulnerable individuals. To examine this issue, we assessed cardiovascular reactivity to a speech stressor task and a forehead cold pressor in 50 individuals with current major depressive disorder (MDD), 25 with remitted major depression (RMD), and 45 healthy controls. Heart rate (HR), blood pressure and impedance cardiography were assessed and analyses controlled for BMI and sex. Significant group effects were found for SBP, HR, and PEP for the speech preparation period and HR, CO, and PEP during the speech. For each of these parameters, only the MDD group exhibited attenuated reactivity as well as impaired SBP recovery. Reactivity and recovery in the RMD group more closely resembled the healthy controls. Speeches given by the MDD group were rated as less persuasive than the RMD or healthy controls' speeches. No significant differences were found for the cold pressor. Blunted cardiovascular reactivity and impaired recovery in current major depression may be mood-state dependent phenomena and may be more reflective of motivational deficits than deficits in the physiological integrity of the cardiovascular system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge April Taylor-Clift, Bethany Morris and Kristina Przystawik for their assistance in conducting this study. This study was funded by NIH/NIMH R21MH077669-01A1 .
Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Impedance cardiography