, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 522-527

Stress maladjustment in the pathoetiology of ulcerative colitis

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Abstract

Background

The aims of this study were (1) to measure levels of cytokines and stress hormones in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients and determine whether there were any disturbances in the nervous, endocrine, or immune systems, and (2) to measure the ability of UC patients to cope with stress (using a sense of coherence, SOC, test) and their perceived self-efficacy, and to elucidate their response to a stress load.

Methods

We administered questionnaires to and took blood samples from 42 outpatients and eight inpatients whose UC was in remission, and 21 healthy volunteers. In addition, we evaluated blood samples from the inpatients and healthy volunteers following a mental calculation stress test.

Results

The questionnaire results revealed that self-efficacy was significantly decreased in the patient groups. Levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone, β-endorphin and interleukin (IL)-6 were significantly higher in the outpatient than in the control group. IL-6 levels significantly increased following the mental calculation stress test in UC patients compared with in the volunteers.

Conclusions

These results indicate that UC patients (1) have hypersensitive nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, and (2) this hypersensitivity was augmented by the mental calculation stress test.