Chronic psychosocial stress-induced down-regulation of immunity depends upon individual factors

Alessandro Bartolomucci, Paola Sacerdote, Alberto E. Panerai, Tiziana Peterzani, Paola Palanza, Stefano Parmigiani

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27 Scopus citations


The effect of chronic stress on immune functions is strongly biased by individual factors. Mice were subjected to a new model of chronic psychosocial stress in which four different subcategories of stressed animals may be identified: Resident Dominants (RD), Resident Subordinates (RS), Intruder Dominants (InD), and Intruder Subordinates (InS). After 7 days of stress, mice were immunized with keyhole limpet hemocyanine (KLH). Their immune functions were investigated 14 days later with stress continuing trough. Importantly, RS mice, which are mice losing territory ownership, were the more affected, having lower IgG, proliferation, and IL-2. RD and InD showed lower IgG while InS showed no immune alteration. In conclusion, loss of resources could be a key factor in determining individual vulnerability to stressful events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Italian MIUR and the University of Parma. The authors wish to thank V. Vascelli for technical assistance provided.


  • Body weight
  • IL-2
  • IgG
  • Loss of resource
  • Proliferation
  • Subordination


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