To explore the mechanism of stress-induced inhibition of natural killer (NK) activity, female C57BL/6 mice were stimulated by electric foot shock and psychological stress for 7 days consecutively. The shocked mice received scrambled, uncontrollable, inescapable 0.6 mA electric shocks in a communication box 120 times during 60 min. The mice in the psychological stress group were put into the communication box without electric foot shock. The plasma corticosterone level in both stressed groups was significantly higher than that in controls on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 and showed the highest level on day 3 in the foot shock stress. According to these results, therefore, we investigated the effect of stress on immunological function on day 3, and measured body weight, weight of the spleen, number of splenocytes, splenic NK, lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activities, NK receptors, and mRNA transcripts for granzymes A and B and perforin in splenocytes. The NK, LAK and CTL activities, and NK receptors in mice with both types of stress were significantly decreased compared to those of the control mice, but the decreases were greater in the foot-shocked mice than in the psychological-stress mice. The mRNA transcripts for granzyme A and perforin were significantly decreased only in the foot-shocked mice. On the other hand, the foot-shock stress increased granzyme B. The above findings suggest that stress induced inhibition of NK, LAK and CTL activities partially via affecting NK receptors, granzymes and perforin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Behavioral Neuroscience