The influence of mild, emotional stress was investigated for its effect on the immune system by subjecting rats to the one-trial-learning passive avoidance test. The reactivity of the immune system was tested by determining the proliferative response after mitogenic stimulation in vitro as well as the capacity to generate a primary antibody response in vivo after immunization with sheep red blood cells. Our results demonstrate that exposure of rats to a single electric footshock (learning trial) or habituation to the passive avoidance apparatus, induces an increase of the immune response in vitro and in vivo. Thus, emotional stimuli seem to facilitate immunological responsiveness. However, when the animal is confronted with a conflict situation, as tested by the retention of the avoidance response after a single learning trial, the initially enhanced reactivity of the immune system decreases. It is concluded that the immune system is capable of reacting specifically and immediately to distinct psychological stimuli.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||8|
|Status||Published - 23-feb-1987|