Trait Hostility and Acute Inflammatory Responses to Stress

June 21, 2016

A Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) researcher has conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between hostility and acute stress-induced changes in inflammatory response. The results of this study are published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. 

The work of Dr. Bianca D'Antono’s team showed that hostility was associated with an increase in inflammatory activity, particularly among women. Further differences in inflammatory activity were noted when the subjects were exposed to interpersonal stressors. The MHI researchers noted that, among the most hostile women, the body’s ability to protect itself against inflammation (anti-inflammatory activity) decreased significantly in such situations. “Greater pro-inflammatory activity and decreased anti-inflammatory activity in more hostile women could increase their risk of developing heart disease,” concludes Dr. D’Antono.

The results of this study are promising. Additional research is underway to evaluate the implications of these findings in patients with and without coronary artery disease. According to Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Desmarais Family Research Centre of the Montreal Heart Institute, “These results demonstrate the impact of psychological factors on health and the cardiovascular effects of stress. This study conducted by our Institute also addresses the issue of hostility, a psychological component which, in the medical community, is less often the target of evaluation and intervention than depression or anxiety. Actions that take into account the hostile nature of certain patients could potentially prevent, or at least slow, the progression of coronary artery disease.”

The manuscript is available here:


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Bianca D’Antono, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Université de Montréal
and Director of the Research Unit in Behavioural and Complementary Medicine at the Montreal Heart Institute.

Her research interests are mind-body interactions, the evaluation of the psychological and psychophysiological determinants and consequences of cardiovascular disease as well as the application of this knowledge in preventing or treating diseases.


About the Montreal Heart Institute
Founded in 1954 by Dr. Paul David, the Montreal Heart Institute constantly aims for the highest standards of excellence in the cardiovascular field through its leadership in clinical and basic research, ultra-specialized care, professional training and prevention. It is part of the broad network of health excellence made up of Université de Montréal and its affiliated institutions. The Montreal Heart Institute ranks as the No. 1 research hospital in Canada for research intensity and research income per researcher, according to Research Infosource.


About the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation
The mission of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation is to raise and administer funds to support the Institute's priority and innovative projects and help its fight against cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 cause of death worldwide. Since its creation in 1977, the Foundation has donated almost $200 million to the Montreal Heart Institute.



Lise Plante, MBA
Director of Public Relations

Montreal Heart Institute Foundation
Phone: 514-376-3330, extension 3898 | | @ICMtl