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Brain Behav Immun. 1987 Mar;1(1):98-104.

Impaired natural killer cell activity during bereavement.

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Clinical Center on Alcoholism, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, California 92161.


Natural killer (NK) cell activity, a component of the immune surveillance system, was compared in women whose husbands had recently died with that found in age-matched women who had not experienced recent adverse life events. Bereaved women had significantly lower NK activity than women whose husbands were healthy. In a second study, depressive symptoms and NK activity were measured longitudinally in women before and after the death of their husbands. Our results suggest that depressive symptoms, not merely the death of the spouse, are related to a reduction in NK activity during bereavement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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