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Study of effect of examination stress on lipid peroxidation and superoxide dismutase level

Prabal Joshi, Anil Kumar, Neetu Arora.


Background: In day–to-day life, stress comes in various forms, and for medical students, academic stress poses one of the many challenges that they have to contend with during their graduation years. A review of the literature reveals the paucity of information about the effect of academic stress as a brief naturalist stressor on oxidative markers. Thus, this study was undertaken to determine the effect of examination stress on lipid peroxidation and superoxide dismutase (SOD) level in medical students.

Aims and Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the effect of examination stress on lipid peroxidation and SOD level.

Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in 80 normal healthy subjects of both sexes (40 males and 40 females) in the age ranging from 18 to 25 years in the Department of Physiology of MLN Medical College, Allahabad. The plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) activity was determined according to the method given by Utley et al. and SOD activity was determined by using the method of Marklund and Marklund.

Results: During the high-stress period, the participants showed significantly higher levels (P < 0.01) of the MDA activity, a measure of lipid peroxidation as compared to low-stress period, while a marked (P < 0.001) decrease in the antioxidant SOD activity was observed in both sexes.

Conclusion: The finding of this study shows that examination stress apparently shifts the delicate pro- and anti-oxidation balance to a more pro-oxidative state. This may lead to increased allostatic load and risk of chronic reactive oxygen species-related diseases. These findings may also lend support to the anecdotal practice of some individuals consuming antioxidant-rich supplementation during an examination period.

Key words: Examination Stress; Free Radical; Lipid Peroxidation; Malondialdehyde; Superoxide Dismutase

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