Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chronic stress can interfere with normal function of the immune system

04.11.2002


May increase susceptibility to inflammatory diseases such as allergic, autoimmune or cardiovascular diseases



Chronic stress not only makes people more vulnerable to catching illnesses but can also impair their immune system’s ability to respond to its own anti-inflammatory signals that are triggered by certain hormones, say researchers, possibly altering the course of an inflammatory disease. This finding is reported on in the November issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Chronic stress seems to impair the immune system’s capacity to respond to glucocorticoid hormones that normally are responsible for terminating an inflammatory response following infection and/or injury, according to researchers Gregory E. Miller, Ph.D., of Washington University and colleagues. To examine what happens to people’s immune systems during on-going stressful situations, the researchers compared 25 healthy parents with children undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer with 25 healthy parents with healthy children on measures of mental health, effects of social support and certain immune system responses. All the parents had blood drawn at the initial session and salivary cortisol samples taken at intermittent times over two days.


Parents of cancer parents reported more psychological distress than parents with healthy children, according to the study. The parents of cancer patients also were found to have diminished glucocorticoid sensitivity compared to parents of medically healthy children. This hormone is responsible for turning off the in vitro production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1B, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor, said Dr. Miller. The good news found by the researchers was that social support lessened the immunologic consequences of caring for a child with cancer, perhaps by helping the parents deal with the economic, work and family disruptions caused by the disease and its treatment.

"These findings suggest a novel mechanism through which psychological stress could influence the onset and/or progression of conditions that involve excessive inflammation, like allergic, autoimmune, cardiovascular, infectious and rheumatologic illnesses," Dr. Miller. But even though the cancer patient parents reported more depressive symptoms, depression does not seem to operate as a mediator. It may be that anxiety, intrusive thoughts, feelings of helplessness or lack of sleep may be influencing the stress-related reductions in glucocorticoid sensitivity.

Article: "Chronic Psychological Stress and the Regulation of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines: A Glucocorticoid-Resistance Model," Gregory E. Miller, Ph.D., Washington University; Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; A. Kim Ritchey, M.D., Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; Health Psychology, Vol 21, No. 6.

(Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/hea/press_releases/november_2002/hea216531.html Gregory E. Miller, PhD can be reached by telephone at (314) 935-6595 or by email at emiller@artsci.wustl.edu


The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Contact: Pam Willenz
Public Affairs Office
(202) 336-5707
pwillenz@apa.org

Pam Willenz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org/
http://www.apa.org/journals/hea/press_releases/november_2002/hea216531.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>