Cardiovascular Responses to Caffeine by Gender and Pubertal Stage
Jennifer L. Temple PEDIATRICS Published online June 16, 2014
BACKGROUND: Caffeine use is on the rise among children and adolescents. Previous studies from our laboratory reported gender differences in the effects of caffeine in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that gender differences in cardiovascular responses to caffeine emerge after puberty and that cardiovascular responses to caffeine differ across the phases of the menstrual cycle.
METHODS: To test these hypotheses, we examined heart rate and blood pressure before and after administration of placebo and 2 doses of caffeine (1 and 2 mg/kg) in prepubertal (8- to 9-year-olds; n = 52) and postpubertal (15- to 17-year-olds; n = 49) boys (n = 54) and girls (n = 47) by using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response design.
RESULTS: There was an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls. In addition, we found interactions between pubertal phase, gender, and caffeine dose, with gender differences present in postpubertal, but not in prepubertal, participants. Finally, we found differences in responses to caffeine across the menstrual cycle in postpubertal girls, with decreases in heart rate that were greater in the midfollicular phase and blood pressure increases that were greater in the midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that gender differences in response to caffeine emerge after puberty. Future research will determine the extent to which these gender differences are mediated by physiological factors, such as steroid hormones, or psychosocial factors, such as more autonomy and control over beverage purchases.
Figures & Data
Incomplete β-oxidation of fatty acids in mitochondria is a feature of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Previous studies revealed that plasma concentrations of medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines (by-products of incomplete β-oxidation) are elevated in T2DM and insulin resistance. In a previous study, we reported that mixed d,l isomers of C12- or C14-carnitine induced an NF-κB-luciferase reporter gene in RAW 264.7 cells, suggesting potential activation of proinflammatory pathways. Here, we determined whether the physiologically relevant l-acylcarnitines activate classical proinflammatory signaling pathways and if these outcomes involve pattern recognition receptor (PRR)-associated pathways. Acylcarnitines induced the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in a chain length-dependent manner in RAW 264.7 cells. l-C14 carnitine (5–25 μM), used as a representative acylcarnitine, stimulated the expression and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, l-C14 carnitine induced phosphorylation of JNK and ERK, common downstream components of many proinflammatory signaling pathways including PRRs. Knockdown of MyD88, a key cofactor in PRR signaling and inflammation, blunted the proinflammatory effects of acylcarnitine. While these results point to potential involvement of PRRs, l-C14 carnitine promoted IL-8 secretion from human epithelial cells (HCT-116) lacking Toll-like receptors (TLR)2 and -4, and did not activate reporter constructs in TLR overexpression cell models. Thus, acylcarnitines have the potential to activate inflammation, but the specific molecular and tissue target(s) involved remain to be identified.
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