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Psychiatry Res. 1999 Jan 18;85(1):105-11.

Immune dysfunction associated with chronic professional stress in nurses.

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Faculty of Medicine (PSYM), Free University of Brussels, Belgium.


The relationship between chronic professional stress in nurses and immunity as well as the possible impact of psychopathology upon this relationship have been examined. Sixty subjects were selected on the basis of high/low scores on professional stress and psychopathology. Chronic professional stress appeared to be associated with immune dysfunction including signs of immune activation (increased numbers of cells expressing the interleukin-2 receptor, especially CD4+CD25+ cells) and possibly immune suppression (decrease in percentage of natural killer cells). The increase in activation markers, CD3+CD16CD56+ cells and serum neopterin was most pronounced in the group with high stress/low psychopathology whereas the decrease in CD8+CD11b+ cells was most pronounced in the group with high stress/high psychopathology. It is hypothesized that in the presence of chronic stress distinct psychological mechanisms are associated with specific immune dysfunctions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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