APH 2003, 61, 91-100:

Study of new explanatory mechanisms in the relation between job stress and cardiovascular diseases.

E. Clays, R. Mak, J. Delanghe, L. Van Renterghem, F. Kittel, F. Leynen, G. De Backer

Keywords: Job stress, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, infection

Introduction: This study explores whether bio-markers of chronic inflammation and chronic infection - beside the classical cardiovascular risk factors - can serve as alternative intervening mechanisms in the link between job stress and cardiovascular diseases. Exposure to job stress could make subjects more prone to infection and/or by a reduced immune system to chronic inflammation.

Methods: The assumed relation between job stress and chronic inflammation and infection has been tested in a subsample from the BELSTRESS study of 1338 male subjects. Job stress was assessed by the ,,Job Content Questionnaire". Participants underwent a biomedical examination and blood samples were drawn and analysed on bio-markers of chronic inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein, plasma fibrinogen and Serum amyloid A) and of chronic infection (titres against Chlamydia pneumoniae, Cytomegalovirus en Helicobacter pylori).

Results: Analyses of variance and logistic regressions did not yield any consistent results as for the association between dimensions of job stress and bio-markers of chronic inflammation and infection, neither in univariate nor in multivariate analyses.

Discussion: These study results can by no means support the hypothesis according to which exposure to job stress is related to chronic inflammation and infection. Future research is needed to further explore the model proposed. Limitations of the study are discussed.