Exposure to trauma in the childhood and abnormal interpersonal stress reactivity are believed to contribute to the pathophysiology of anorexia nervosa (AN), which suggests a possible role of the hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Although an effect of early traumatic experiences on the cortisol awakening response has been proved in patients with AN, the consequences of childhood trauma exposure on HPA axis reactivity to psychosocial stressors has been never investigated in such individuals. Therefore, we have assessed emotional and cortisol responses to an acute psycho-social stress in AN patients with a history of childhood trauma exposure. Twenty-four AN women and 17 healthy women were enrolled in the study. Patients were classified as maltreated (Mal) or non-maltreated (noMal) according to their Childhood Trauma Questionnaire scores. Participants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and their emotional responses were measured through the state scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Saliva samples were collected to measure cortisol production. Compared to both healthy subjects and noMal AN patients, Mal AN women exhibited a blunted cortisol response to TSST. With respect to healthy controls, pre-TSST anxiety levels were enhanced in both AN groups; moreover, Mal AN patients displayed a reduced anxiety increase after TSST as compared to both noMal patients and healthy women. Our findings for the first time provide the evidence of deranged biological and emotional responses to an acute social stress in AN patients with childhood trauma exposure, corroborating the idea of a maltreated ecophenotype in AN as in other psychiatric disorders.

Deranged emotional and cortisol responses to a psychosocial stressor in anorexia nervosa women with childhood trauma exposure: Evidence for a "maltreated ecophenotype"?

Steardo L;
2018-01-01

Abstract

Exposure to trauma in the childhood and abnormal interpersonal stress reactivity are believed to contribute to the pathophysiology of anorexia nervosa (AN), which suggests a possible role of the hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Although an effect of early traumatic experiences on the cortisol awakening response has been proved in patients with AN, the consequences of childhood trauma exposure on HPA axis reactivity to psychosocial stressors has been never investigated in such individuals. Therefore, we have assessed emotional and cortisol responses to an acute psycho-social stress in AN patients with a history of childhood trauma exposure. Twenty-four AN women and 17 healthy women were enrolled in the study. Patients were classified as maltreated (Mal) or non-maltreated (noMal) according to their Childhood Trauma Questionnaire scores. Participants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and their emotional responses were measured through the state scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Saliva samples were collected to measure cortisol production. Compared to both healthy subjects and noMal AN patients, Mal AN women exhibited a blunted cortisol response to TSST. With respect to healthy controls, pre-TSST anxiety levels were enhanced in both AN groups; moreover, Mal AN patients displayed a reduced anxiety increase after TSST as compared to both noMal patients and healthy women. Our findings for the first time provide the evidence of deranged biological and emotional responses to an acute social stress in AN patients with childhood trauma exposure, corroborating the idea of a maltreated ecophenotype in AN as in other psychiatric disorders.
2018
Anorexia nervosa; Childhood trauma; Cortisol; Emotion; Social stress; TSST
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/58549
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 28
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 27
social impact