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J Neuroimmunol. 1998 May 15;85(2):193-201.

Behaviorally conditioned effects of Cyclosporine A on the immune system of rats: specific alterations of blood leukocyte numbers and decrease of granulocyte function.

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Division of Functional and Applied Anatomy, Medical School of Hannover, Germany.


Immunosuppression induced by Cyclosporine A (CsA) can be behaviorally conditioned. It is unknown, however, whether a taste aversion paradigm using CsA as an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) induces alterations of blood leukocyte numbers and function. Results obtained by three-colour flow cytometry and granulocyte chemiluminescence response demonstrate that in conditioned rats, absolute numbers of lymphocyte subsets, including B, CD8+ T cells and CD4+ naive and memory T cells, and granulocyte numbers and function were significantly decreased. In contrast to the conditioned response, CsA treatment alone increased lymphocyte numbers and did not affect granulocyte function. Thus, our data demonstrate that behaviorally conditioned CsA effects can be monitored in the blood. In addition, results indicate that the CNS mediates the behaviorally conditioned immunosuppression by reducing the availability and function of granulocytes and lymphocytes.

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