Engel-Yeger B, Maurer M, Hawro T, Zubedat S, Avital A, Kessel A

Clin Exp Allergy. 2021 Feb 22. doi: 10.1111/cea.13854. Versión digital previa a la impresión.

Chronic spontaneous urticaria impacts the quality of life and emotional well-being of people suffering from it. People with chronic spontaneous urticaria have increased emotional distress, anxiety, depression, somatoform disorders, and stress, which correlates with the activity of urticaria.

People with chronic spontaneous urticaria may be more susceptible to stressors and thus have increased stress responses. Stress responses may lead to the secretion of neuropeptides from sensory skin nerves, interacting with mast cells and releasing histamine, causing chronic spontaneous urticaria attacks.

This study compared the stress responses to acoustic startle and stress levels between 47 people with chronic spontaneous urticaria and 56 healthy volunteers. Stress levels were evaluated with the Perceived Stress Scale.

The stressor exposure session was three minutes long. Participants were exposed to 40 randomly spaced auditory startle stimuli. Responses to the stimuli were measured by electromyography assessment of the contraction amplitude of the orbicularis oculi muscle for each startle stimulus and the number of eye blinks.

People with chronic spontaneous urticaria had stronger responses to acoustic startles with high mean electromyography values and a higher number of eye blinks than healthy volunteers. People with urticaria also had longer stress responses and stress levels, as assessed by the Perceived Stress Scale.

In conclusion, people with urticaria have increased stress responses using objective and subjective measures. Underlying neuroimmune mechanisms should be studied further, as it is possible that stress predisposes to chronic spontaneous urticaria and that chronic spontaneous urticaria increases stress, forming a disease amplification loop.

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