Background. Significant alterations in total serum protein
(TSP) patterns obtained in serum protein
electrophoresis and serum proteins have been reported in patients with
major depression and in
subjects submitted to a combination of psychological and
physical stress. The aim of the present
study was to examine the effects of academic examination stress, on
TSP and patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis.
Methods. TSP and the concentrations and percentages of the
major electrophoretically separated
serum proteins were measured in 41 healthy biomedical students the day
before a difficult academic
examination (i.e. the stressful condition), as well as a few weeks before
and after the stressful condition (i.e. two baseline conditions).
Results. Academic examination stress increased TSP and the
α1, α2, β and γ concentrations in
stress-reactors, but not in stress non-reactors (as defined by
changes in the Perceived Stress Scale).
Academic examination stress reduced the percentage of albumin in the
stress-reactors, but not in
stress non-reactors. There were significant positive relationships
between the stress-induced changes
in TSP and serum α2, β and γ concentrations and the
stress-induced changes in the Perceived Stress Scale.
Conclusions. The results show that even mild psychological
stress of short duration can lead to
measurable changes in TSP and in patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis.