Potential biomarker of psychological stress

Stress affects both mental and physical health. Although stress is known as one of the major risk factors of health disorders in modern society, a biomarker of stress has not yet been well established. In a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, researchers from Osaka University reported a unique association between stress and serum levels of α-Klotho (αKl).

αKl was originally established as an anti-aging gene and is reported to relate with various diseases. The researchers have previously reported that smoking, which is known as a stress factor, increased serum levels of soluble αKl (sαKl) (Scientific Reports, 2015). In the study, association between stress and serum levels of sαKl were evaluated, by using the Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress (K6);, which is widely used to screen mental health problems.

As the study subjects, apparently healthy individuals who had never smoked were randomly chosen. Physical parameters, biochemical parameters, and information regarding the lifestyle were obtained from all subjects.

Serum levels of sαKl were significantly increased in subjects who reported poor stress management. In addition, sαKl levels were significantly increased in subjects who reported that they did not feel relaxed after sleep. These results suggest that stress management and sleeping conditions influenced the serum levels of sαKl. Moreover, serum levels of sαKl showed the same tendency as the K6 score in terms of the relationship between stress management and sleeping conditions.

“Although the number of people who feel stressed has been increasing, a useful objective parameter of stress is still unknown. We focused on the serum levels of sαKl as a possible objective biomarker of stress, and found an interesting association between stress and sαKl levels,” says researcher Kaori Nakanishi of Osaka University. “From the study, it is suggested that increased serum levels of sαKl might be predicting the stressed condition. We are speculating that serum levels of sαKl could be a predictive factor of stress.”

Source: Read Full Article