Modulation of cellular immunity in medical students

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Ronald Glaser, Eric C. Strain, Julie C. Stout, Kathleen L. Tarr, Jane E. Holliday, Carl E. Speicher

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Abstract

This study assessed the psychosocial modulation of cellular immunity in 34 medical-student volunteers. The first blood sample was obtained 1 month before examinations, and the second on the day of examinations. There were significant declines in the percentage of helper/inducer T- lymphocytes, in the helper/inducer-suppressor/cytotoxic-cell ratio, and in natural killer-cell activity in the blood samples obtained on the day of examinations. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to a relaxation group which met between sample points; the frequency of relaxation practice was a significant predictor of the percentages of helper/inducer cells in the examination sample. Three biochemical nutritional assays (albumin, transferrin, and total iron-binding protein) were within normal limits on both samples. Data from the Brief Symptom Inventory showed significantly increased global self-rated distress associated with examinations in the no-intervention group, compared to nonsignificant change in the relaxation group. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1986
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cellular immunity
  • psychoimmunology
  • relaxation
  • stress

Cite this

Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Glaser, R., Strain, E. C., Stout, J. C., Tarr, K. L., Holliday, J. E., & Speicher, C. E. (1986). Modulation of cellular immunity in medical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 9(1), 5-21. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00844640