A growing number of studies show strong associations between stress and altered immune function. In vivo studies of chronic and acute stress have demonstrated that cognitive stressors are strongly correlated with high levels of catecholamines (CT) and corticosteroids (CS). Although both CS and CT individually can inhibit the production of T-helper 1 (TH1, type-1 like) cytokines and simultaneously promote the production of T-helper 2 (TH2, type-2 like) cytokines in antigen-specific and mitogen stimulated human leukocyte cultures in vitro, little attention has been focused on the effects of combination CT and CS in immune responses that may be more physiologically relevant. We therefore investigated the combined effects of in vitro CT and CS upon the type-1/type-2 cytokine balance of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as a model to study the immunomodulatory effects of superimposed acute and chronic stress. Results demonstrated a significant decrease in type-1 cytokine production (IFN-γ) and a significant increase in type-2 cytokine production (IL-4, IL-10) in our CS + CT incubated cultures when compared to either CT or CS agents alone. Furthermore, variable enhancement of type-1/type-2 immune deviation occurred depending upon when the CT was added. The data suggest that CS can increase the sensitivity of PBMC to the immunomodulatory effects of CT and establishes an in vitro model to study the combined effects of in vivo type-1/type-2 cytokine alterations observed in acute and chronic stress.
- Immune deviation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience