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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Nov;10(9):359-368.

Stress Hormones, Th1/Th2 patterns, Pro/Anti-inflammatory Cytokines and Susceptibility to Disease.

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Pediatric Endocrinology Section, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In general, stress has been regarded as immunosuppressive. Recent evidence, however, indicates that acute, subacute or chronic stress might suppress cellular immunity but boost humoral immunity. This is mediated by a differential effect of stress hormones, the glucocorticoids and catecholamines, on T helper 1 (Th1)/Th2 cells and type 1/type 2 cytokine production. Furthermore, acute stress might induce pro-inflammatory activities in certain tissues through neural activation of the peripheral corticotropin-releasing hormone-mast cell-histamine axis. Through the above mechanisms, stress might influence the onset and/or course of infectious, autoimmune/inflammatory, allergic and neoplastic diseases.

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