Sympathetic neural reactivity to mental stress differs in black and non-Hispanic white adults.

Ida Tchuisseu Fonkoue, Michigan Technological University
Christopher Elmer Schwartz, Michigan Technological University
Min Wang, Michigan Technological University
Jason R. Carter, Michigan Technological University


Black adults have a higher risk of hypertension compared with non-Hispanic white (NHW) adults, but physiological mechanisms underlying this predisposition remain unclear. This study compared muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) responses to mental stress in a group of young black and NHW participants. We hypothesized that the sympathoexcitation associated with mental stress would be greater in black adults compared with NHW participants. Thirty-five male adults (19 black, 23 ± 1 yr; 16 NHW, 22 ± 1 yr) were examined during 5-min supine baseline and 5 min of mental stress (via mental arithmetic). Baseline mean arterial pressure (80 ± 2 vs. 82 ± 1 mmHg), heart rate (61 ± 4 vs. 61 ± 2 beats/min), MSNA (13 ± 1 vs. 15 ± 2 bursts/min), and sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity (-1.1 ± 0.4 vs. -1.5 ± 0.3 bursts·100 heart beats