The relation of aggression, hostility, and anger to lipopolysaccharide-stimulated tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by blood monocytes from normal men

Brain Behav Immun. 2002 Dec;16(6):675-84. doi: 10.1016/s0889-1591(02)00019-3.


Aggression, hostility, and anger significantly predict morbidity and mortality from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD). ACVD is believed to be an inflammatory disease characterized by increased expression of a number of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. This study examined the relation of aggression, hostility, and anger to monocyte-associated TNF-alpha expression following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Participants were 62 healthy, non-smoking men (aged 18-45 years). Hostility, anger, verbal, and physical aggression were assessed using the Buss-Perry aggression questionnaire (BPAQ). LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression was determined using dual-color flow cytometry gating for CD14(+) cells. After controlling for age, race, education, and alcohol use, scores on the hostility (p=.013), physical aggression (p=.010), and verbal aggression (p=.034) subscales, and the total score (p=.007) on the BPAQ were positively associated with LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression. The results suggest that hostility and aggression are associated with an increased expression of TNF-alpha, a cytokine implicated in ACVD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Anger / physiology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / immunology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / psychology
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha