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Stress. 2008 May;11(3):225-34. doi: 10.1080/10253890701733351.

Aggravation of DSS-induced colitis after chronic subordinate colony (CSC) housing is partially mediated by adrenal mechanisms.

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  • 1Institute of Zoology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany. stefan.reber@biologie.uni-regensburg.de


Chronic subordinate colony housing (CSC) is a relevant chronic psycho-social stressor for male mice. Here, we investigated effects of CSC on the severity of dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis and the involvement of adrenal mechanisms. After 19 days of CSC, male C57BL/6 mice were treated with 1% DSS (8 days). After 8 days, inflammatory shortening of the colon and the histological inflammation score were increased in CSC mice. Additionally, the increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by mesenteric lymph node cells found on day 2 and 4 of DSS treatment was down-regulated in CSC mice on day 8 of DSS treatment, paralleled by an increase in plasma corticosterone. In contrast, in unstressed controls, elevation of cytokine secretion was delayed and only found on day 8 of DSS treatment, associated with a prompt rise in plasma corticosterone. To reveal adrenal mechanisms in CSC-induced effects on colitis, mice were adrenalectomized, exposed to CSC and treated with DSS (8 days). In adrenalectomized CSC mice, the severity of DSS-induced colitis was reduced, as body weight loss, shortening of colon, histological damage score, and cytokine secretion from mesenteric lymph node cells were diminished compared with sham-operated CSC mice. In conclusion, exposure to chronic psycho-social stress increases the severity of acute DSS colitis, an effect which is, at least partly, mediated by adrenal mechanisms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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