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Brain Behav Immun. 2008 May;22(4):552-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2007.11.005. Epub 2007 Dec 31.

Stress-induced differences in primary and secondary resistance against bacterial sepsis corresponds with diverse corticotropin releasing hormone receptor expression by pulmonary CD11c+ MHC II+ and CD11c- MHC II+ APCs.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA.


Stress responses have been associated with altered immunity and depending upon the type of stressor, can have diverse effects on disease outcomes. As the first line of defense against potential pathogens, alterations in cellular immune responses along the respiratory tract can have a significant impact on the manifestation of local and systemic disease. Utilizing a murine model of respiratory pneumonia, the current study investigated the effects of restraint stress on the induction of primary and secondary immunity along the respiratory tract, influencing host susceptibility. Female CD-1 mice were subjected to three hours of restraint stress over a period of four days followed by primary and secondary Streptococcus pneumoniae infection via intranasal route. Stress exposure led to increased retention of bacterial carriage in the lungs, enhanced polymorphonuclear cells and a preferential decrease in pulmonary CD11c(+) MHC II(+) cells resulting in delayed lethality during primary infection but significant impairment of acquired immune protection after secondary infection. We also provide evidence to support a role for lung-associated corticotropin releasing hormone regulation through peripheral CRH and diverse CRH receptor expression by MHC II(+) antigen presenting cells (APCs). We conclude that repeated restraint stress has distinct influences on immune cell populations that appear to be important in the generation of innate and adaptive immune responses along the respiratory tract with the potential to influence local and systemic protection against disease pathogenesis.

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