NIH Research Festival
Introduction Studies show that family caregivers, a highly stressed population, are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). LDL cholesterol has traditionally been the principal component of cardiovascular risk assessment. Recently, NMR spectroscopy has become an established technique for quantifying both concentration (P) and diameter (Z) of serum lipoproteins. NMR lipoprotein profiles of family caregivers may better describe the early physiological changes associated with stress that may lead to poor cardiovascular outcomes. Hypothesis NMR measurements of lipoprotein particle concentration and size in caregivers will suggest a different risk for CVD compared to controls. Methods The study followed hematopoietic stem cell transplantation family caregivers at 3 time points from pre-transplant through 6 weeks following hospital discharge and compared with age-, gender-, and race/ethnicity-matched controls. Results Caregivers (n=21) were primarily female (57%), married (95%) and non-Hispanic white (57%) with a mean age of 52 years. Perceived Stress Scale-14 scores were higher for caregivers than non-caregivers across all time points (p < 0.001). Traditional measures of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides did not differ between groups (p > 0.05). NMR profiles showed that LDL-Z size was smaller (p = 0.009) and small LDL-P was increased (p = 0.04) in caregivers than non-caregivers, respectively. A time x group effect was present for large VLDL-P; caregivers had greater VLDL-P (p = 0.015) at time point 3. VLDL-Z size was larger in caregivers (p = 0.045). Conclusions While traditional measures were uninformative, NMR lipoprotein profiles suggest caregivers may be at greater risk for CVD.
Scientific Focus Area: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
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