Salivary uric acid: Associations with resting and reactive blood pressure response to social evaluative stress in healthy African Americans

Jacqueline Woerner, Todd Lucas, Jennifer Pierce, Jenna L. Riis, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High levels of uric acid are associated with greater risk of stress-related cardiovascular illnesses that occur disproportionately among African Americans. Whether hyperuricemia affects biological response to acute stress remains largely unknown, suggesting a need to clarify this potential connection. The current study examined how salivary uric acid (sUA) is associated with resting and reactive blood pressure – two robust predictors of hypertension and related cardiovascular disease and disparity. Healthy African Americans (N = 107; 32% male; M age = 31.74 years), completed the Trier Social Stress Test to induce social-evaluative stress. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were recorded before, during, and after the task to assess resting and reactive change in blood pressure. Participants also provided a saliva sample at baseline that was assayed for sUA. At rest, and controlling for age, sUA was modestly associated with higher systolic (r =.201, p =.044), but not diastolic (r =.100, p =.319) blood pressure. In response to the stressor task, and once again controlling for age, sUA was also associated with higher total activation of both systolic (r =.219, p =.025) and diastolic blood pressure (r =.198, p <.044). A subsequent moderation analysis showed that associations between sUA and BP measures were significant for females, but not for males. Findings suggest that uric acid may be implicated in hypertension and cardiovascular health disparities through associations with elevated blood pressure responses to acute social stress, and that low levels of uric acid might be protective, particularly for females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular illness
  • Health disparities
  • Stress reactivity
  • Trier social stress test
  • Uric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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