Stress Depresses Interferon Production by Leukocytes Concomitant With a Decrease in Natural Killer Cell Activity

Ronald Glaser, John Rice, Carl E. Speicher, Julie C. Stout, Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser

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This study addressed the effects of a commonplace stressful event on interferon production and natural killer (NK) cell activity and numbers. The quantity of interferons (IFN) produced by concanavalin A stimulated leukocytes obtained from 40 medical students during examinations was significantly lower when compared with IFN levels produced by peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) taken 6 weeks earlier (baseline). In addition, three different assays measuring NK cells also showed significant decrements during examinations when compared with baseline samples. These assays included (a) lysis of MOLT-4 target cells, (b) percentage of anti-Leu-7 + (NK) cells, and (c) percentage of large granular lymphocytes. Self-report data documented the significantly greater distress associated with examinations in comparison with baseline samples. The data have implications for immunosuppressive disorders and stress-associated illnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-678
Number of pages4
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes

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