Depression and Systolic Blood Pressure Variability Interview with:
Marcos A Sanchez-Gonzalez, M.D., Ph.D., EPC
Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Biomedical Sciences
College of Medicine
The Florida State University
1115 W Call Street BMS 2300-24 &

The Family Institute
Behavioral Cardiology Laboratory
Longmire 301
Tallahassee, FL 32306  What are the main findings of the study?


The findings of our study were the following:

(1) The low frequency component of systolic blood pressure variability (LFSBP;  a marker of sympathovagal tone) was a stronger predictor of depressive symptoms than conventional measures of cardiovascular functioning such as laboratory measurement of blood pressure and heart rate variability as well as home based ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

(2) Depressive symptoms were associated with a blunted LFSBP response to sympathetic stimulation via cold pressor test; and

(3) Participants with acute depression (a score of ≥16 using the CES-D scale) had higher LFSBP than those with normal depressive symptom scores.  These findings suggest that depressive symptoms evoke alterations in vascular sympathetic activity, and more importantly, this alteration is occurs early in the progression of the disease.  This is fascinating owing to the fact that we have documented a common pathway of disease between depression and cardiovascular diseases. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: These findings were somewhat surprising.  Although we were expecting to find associations between LFSBP and depressive symptoms, finding that the LFSBP values in acutely depressed participants were twofold compared with those without acute depression was striking. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Depressive disorders are diagnosed clinically without the use of any measurable biological marker.  We believe that monitoring LFSBP could be used as a biomarker for depression used as part of the existing criteria. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Prospective studies that are aimed at examining the effects of differing therapeutic interventions to treat depression symptomatology via LFSBP modification to prevent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are warranted.


Sympathetic Vasomotor Tone Is Associated With Depressive Symptoms in Young Females: A Potential Link Between Depression and Cardiovascular Disease.Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, May RW, Koutnik AP, Kabbaj M, Fincham FD.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.

Am J Hypertens. 2013 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Last Updated on August 27, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD