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Trends Microbiol. 2008 Feb;16(2):55-64. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2007.11.005. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Microbial endocrinology: how stress influences susceptibility to infection.

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Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.


A holistic approach to understanding the mechanisms by which stress influences the pathogenesis of infectious disease has resulted in the development of the field of microbial endocrinology. This transdisciplinary field represents the intersection of microbiology with mammalian endocrinology and neurophysiology, and is based on the tenet that microorganisms have evolved systems for using neurohormones, which are widely distributed throughout nature, as environmental cues to initiate growth and pathogenic processes. This review reveals that responsiveness to human stress hormones is widespread in the microbial world and documents recent advances in microbial endocrinology.

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