Psychosocial stress but not hypertensive status associated with angiogenesis in Africans
Venter, Paul Cristiaan
Schutte, Aletta Elisabeth
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Aim. Increased angiogenic factors [vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2)] have been associated with vascular dysfunction and hypertension. Black Africans undergoing rapid urbanization present with elevated blood pressure (BP) and we aimed to determine whether angiogenic factors are elevated in urban versus rural Africans with normal and elevated BP. Methods and Materials. Africans (n = 272), matched for gender and age, were recruited from rural and urban communities in South Africa. Omron HEM-757 BP data were obtained and angiogenic markers in plasma and serum were determined. Results. Urban African men displayed a higher (43.90%) hypertension prevalence compared with their rural counterparts (18.52%) and disturbed angiongenic factors. Adjusted VEGF-A concentrations were higher in urban men and women compared with their rural counterparts. Similar VEGF-A levels were observed in rural and urban hypertensives. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that VEGF-A and Ang-2 levels were associated with psychosocial stress but not with hypertensive status in Africans [odds ratios 1.01–1.09 (95% CI 1.01–1.15), p ≤ 0.05]. Conclusion. Psychosocial stress per se was associated with disturbed VEGF-A and Ang-2. We suggest that hyperkinetic BP may act as compensatory mechanism when chronic psychosocial stress prevails, affecting vascular functioning and subsequent increased cardiovascular disease risk.