Blood and affective markers of stress in Elite Airmen during a preparatory training course: A pilot study

S. T. Jenz, C. D. Goodyear, P. R. TSgt Graves, S. Goldstein, M. R. Shia, E. E. Redei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In highly stressful environments, individuals with diverging stress-reactivity can perform differently. Identification of blood markers of stress-reactivity is of major significance to help human performance during stress. Candidate transcripts were identified between stressed and non-stressed strains of rats’ blood and brain, and overlapping significant differentially expressed genes were selected. Serum levels of human orthologues of these proteins, in lieu of blood RNA, in addition to classic stress and general clinical markers, were measured in 33 Battlefield Airmen undergoing a 52 day long preparatory training course before their course of initial entry (COIE). Blood samples and factors of affective state, negative valence “Threat” and positive valence “Challenge”, were obtained five times across different days of training which included either routine physical exercise or prolonged and intense physical and mental training. During training, levels of chloride (Cl), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), creatinine kinase (CK), and total carbon dioxide (TCO2) differed between airmen who subsequently graduated from their COIE and those who did not. Time dependent changes of serum TCO2 and neuropeptide Y (NPY), as well as the affective factor Challenge differed by future graduation status throughout the training. Serum levels of parvin beta (PARVB) correlated with the affective factor Threat, while those of NPY, testosterone, coactosin like F-actin binding protein 1 (COTL1) and C-reactive protein (CRP) correlated with factor Challenge during the extended, intensive periods of training, consistently. These pilot data suggest that the identified panel of blood markers can measure stress responsiveness, which has the potential to advance individualized stress-management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100323
JournalNeurobiology of Stress
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Affective measures
  • Battlefield airmen
  • Preparatory training
  • Serum stress markers
  • Stress-severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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