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Effect of Military Operational Stress on Neuroendocrine and Extracellular Vesicle Profiles Related to Cognitive and Physiological Resilience

Beckner, Meaghan E. (2021) Effect of Military Operational Stress on Neuroendocrine and Extracellular Vesicle Profiles Related to Cognitive and Physiological Resilience. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Modern-day military operations are often comprised of sleep and caloric restriction, exercise-induced fatigue, cognitive overload, and psychological strain, making resilience an important attribute to withstand such arduous demands. Defined as the ability to manage stress and adversity through positive adaptations, resilience can be considered a personal trait or a process that occurs when an individual is faced with adversity and responds positively. The latter suggest that resilience includes physiological processes involved with stress adaptation. This collection of studies examined potential circulating biomarkers of trait-resilience both in a lab-based simulated military operational stress and a field-based military stress scenario. The work extended beyond previously examined neuroendocrine biomarkers to also investigate the potential role of extracellular vesicles (EVs), lipid membrane-bound vesicles release by nearly all cells that carry transcriptomic and proteomic content between cells. We observed underling biological differences between soldiers exhibiting high trait-resilience compared to soldiers with low-trait resilience detectible in extracellular vesicles, but not discernable in circulating hormones and proteins. Such biological differences suggest the possibility of training resilience to achieve favorable physiological adaptations. Furthermore, we observed significant correlations between pro-inflammatory markers and EVs in a field-based military setting, endorsing further investigation into cell-specific EVs to discern the intercellular communication that occurs during multifactorial stress. Given their profound predictive and diagnostic capabilities, EVs may serve as a critical biometric tool to elucidate key physiological adaptations to enhance soldier readiness and resiliency.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Beckner, Meaghan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNindl,
Committee CoChairAmbrosio,
Committee MemberMi,
Committee MemberFlanagan,
Committee MemberMartin,
Date: 8 September 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 July 2021
Approval Date: 8 September 2021
Submission Date: 21 July 2021
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 217
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: resilience, extracellular vesicles, occupational stress, decision trees, machine learning
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2021 19:12
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2023 05:15


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