Researchers might have uncovered a biomarker for stress

In recent studies, researchers attributed to stress as a major risk factor for both psychological and physical health, but no biomarker exists as of yet. A new study, however, conducted by researchers at Osaka University may soon alter that notion.

According to the report, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, there may be a distinct association between stress and serum levels of α-Klotho (αKl), an anti-aging gene linked to smoking and numerous illnesses. By utilizing the Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress (K6), researchers were able to examine this association.

Researchers recruited healthy participants with no history of smoking. They collected biochemical parameters, biochemical parameters, and background information on lifestyle.

“Subjects included apparently healthy individuals who underwent a health examination in the Osaka University Health and Counseling Center. Physical and biochemical parameters were obtained from all subjects. Information regarding the lifestyle of each individual was obtained via questionnaire,” said Kaori Nakanishi, co-author of the study.

The findings indicated that significantly increased serum levels of sαKl were observed in participants with poor stress management. Sleep fatigue also indicated increased sαKl levels. Both of these outcomes give probability to the theory that stress management and sleep quality influenced the serum levels of sαKl.

“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,” Nakanishi stated.

“The total Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress (K6) score was significantly increased in subjects who reported experiencing considerable stress, had poor stress management and unsatisfactory sleep.”

“Since serum levels of sαKl showed the same tendency as the K6 score in terms of the relationship between stress management and sleeping conditions in male subjects, increased sαKl levels could be associated with considerable psychological stress in healthy men. 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.”