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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2007 Jul;32(6):681-92. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Effect of repeated restraint stress on the levels of intestinal IgA in mice.

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Departamento de Morfología, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Plan de San Luis y Díaz Mirón, CP 11340, México, DF.


The effects of restraint stress on the intestinal humoral immune system, particularly those about intestinal IgA production, have not been explored in detail. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the effect of restraint stress on the production and secretion of intestinal IgA as well as on the number of IgA+ cells in the intestinal lamina propria. The involvement of glucocorticoids and catecholamines were also evaluated. Mice were exposed to 1 or 4 h restraint stress for 4 d. The intestinal IgA concentration was quantified by ELISA and the number of IgA containing cells in the lamina propria was determined by immunohistochemistry. The effects of restraint were also analyzed in mice submitted to different procedures: adrenalectomy, chemical sympathectomy, treatment with a glucocorticoid antagonist (RU486), dexamethasone and epinephrine. The main findings were that (1) chronic restraint-stress reduced the intestinal IgA concentration without changing the number of IgA+ cells in lamina propria; (2) adrenalectomy restored the production of IgA in stressed mice; (3) RU486 and chemical sympathectomy partially blocked the decrease in intestinal IgA in stressed mice; and (4) pharmacological doses of dexamethasone and epinephrine significantly reduced the intestinal IgA concentration and the number of IgA+ cells. The restraint stress probably reduced the intestinal IgA concentration through the effects of glucocorticoids and catecholamines.

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