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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1987 Sep;10(3):449-65.

Immune and neuroendocrine changes during bereavement.

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Clinical Center on Alcoholism, San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center, California.


Several studies document an association between bereavement and both suppressed lymphocyte responses to mitogen stimulation and impaired NK activity. In addition, women who are bereaved and have depressive symptoms show alterations in T cell subpopulations including a loss of T suppressor-cytotoxic cells and an increase in the ratio of T helper to T suppressor-cytotoxic cells. Although depressive symptoms may possibly mediate the immunologic changes during bereavement, the processes that modulate the immune system and link bereavement, changes in CNS activity, and immune function remain unknown. The increased secretion of cortisol in bereaved persons does not appear to mediate the suppression of NK activity, and further studies are necessary to explore the potential role of neuropeptides or catecholamines in altering immune function during bereavement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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