To examine the effect of final exam stress on the concentrations of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the upper airways among healthy and asthmatic individuals.
Nasal samples were collected from 12 individuals with asthma and 23 healthy controls early and late in a final exam period, and during a low-stress period in the semester. We determined LTB4 and VEGF concentrations using Enzyme-Linked Immunoassays.
Mixed effects analysis of variance models showed that asthmatic participants with allergies in contrast to healthy individuals experienced a decrease in nasal LTB4 during the final exam period as compared to mid-semester (low stress period). There were no significant changes in nasal VEGF across the observation period. Changes in nasal LTB4 and VEGF were not associated with salivary cortisol, exhaled nitric oxide, or spirometric lung function.
Our results suggest that nasal LTB4 concentrations change in periods of psychological stress for asthmatic individuals with allergies.