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Neuroimmunomodulation. 1998 Jan-Apr;5(1-2):22-35.

Peripheral sympathetic denervation alters both the primary and memory cellular immune responses to herpes simplex virus infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey 17033, USA.


Numerous studies have sought to delineate the impact of neuroendocrine function on overall immune responsiveness. Using various murine models, we and others have previously shown that both adrenal-dependent and adrenal-independent mechanisms associated with psychological stress modulate components of both the primary and memory cellular immune responses to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection. We have extended these studies by determining the impact of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-mediated peripheral sympathetic denervation on both responses. C57BL/6 mice treated with 6-OHDA (200 mg/kg) exhibited reduced generation of both primary lymph node- and splenic-derived cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) following a local (footpad) and systemic HSV infection, respectively. 6-OHDA also suppressed activation of HSV-specific memory CTL (CTLm). In both models, alterations in cytokine production and lymphocyte subset distribution were also observed. Administration of 6-OHDA also resulted in substantial but transient activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis as was indicated by a dramatic elevation of serum corticosterone and hypothalamic Fos expression. Moreover, the corticosterone levels were directly correlated with the extent of CTLm activation. Together, these findings suggest that peripheral sympathetic denervation alters immune function through activation of the HPA axis.

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