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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2018 Mar 20;28(9):837-851. doi: 10.1089/ars.2017.7312. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Cardiovascular Health.

Xia N1, Li H1,2,3.

Author information

1
1 Department of Pharmacology, Johannes Gutenberg University Medical Center , Mainz, Germany .
2
2 Center for Translational Vascular Biology (CTVB), Johannes Gutenberg University Medical Center , Mainz, Germany .
3
3 German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) , Partner Site Rhine-Main, Mainz, Germany .

Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE:

Social and demographic changes have led to an increased prevalence of loneliness and social isolation in modern society. Recent Advances: Population-based studies have demonstrated that both objective social isolation and the perception of social isolation (loneliness) are correlated with a higher risk of mortality and that both are clearly risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lonely individuals have increased peripheral vascular resistance and elevated blood pressure. Socially isolated animals develop more atherosclerosis than those housed in groups.

CRITICAL ISSUES:

Molecular mechanisms responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk are poorly understood. In recent reports, loneliness and social stress were associated with activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and the sympathetic nervous system. Repeated and chronic social stress leads to glucocorticoid resistance, enhanced myelopoiesis, upregulated proinflammatory gene expression, and oxidative stress. However, the causal role of these mechanisms in the development of loneliness-associated CVD remains unclear.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS:

Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of how CVD is induced by loneliness and social isolation requires additional studies. Understanding of the pathomechanisms is essential for the development of therapeutic strategies to prevent the detrimental effects of social stress on health. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 28, 837-851.

KEYWORDS:

cardiovascular disease; loneliness; oxidative stress; social isolation

PMID:
28903579
PMCID:
PMC5831910
DOI:
10.1089/ars.2017.7312
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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