Published:  1999-09

Secretory immunoglobulin A and cardiovascular activity during mental arithmetic and paced breathing

Authors:  Christopher Ring, Douglas Carroll, Gonneke Willemsen, Jonathan Cooke, Adrian Ferraro, Mark Drayson

Tags:  Autonomic nervous system, Mental arithmetic, Paced breathing, Secretory immunoglobulin A

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The role of the autonomic nervous system in secretory
immunoglobulin A (sIgA) responses to laboratory challenge
was explored in a study in which sIgA and cardiovascular
activity were recorded at rest and during mental arithmetic
and paced breathing. These tasks were selected to preferentially
engage the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems,
respectively. Mental arithmetic elicited a mixed pattern
of increased alpha- and beta-adrenergic activity and a
reduction in parasympathetic activity; diastolic blood
pressure, total peripheral resistance, and systolic blood
pressure increased, preejection period shortened, and heart
rate variability decreased. In contrast, paced breathing
primarily elicited an increase in parasympathetic activity;
heart rate variability increased. Mental arithmetic also
provoked an increase in sIgA concentration but no change
in saliva volume, whereas paced breathing affected neither
sIgA concentration nor saliva volume. These data suggest
that sIgA responses to laboratory challenges are mediated
by sympathetic rather than parasympathetic processes.