Influence of a Psychogenic and a Neurogenic Stressor on Several Indices of Immune Functioning in Different Strains of Mice

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


It is demonstrated that cell proliferation in response to mitogens, natural killer cell (NK) activity, and macrophage functioning of mice may be influenced by either a neurogenic stressor (footshock) or a psychogenic stressor (exposing the mouse to a predator, namely a rat). The nature and magnitude of the immune changes, however, varied across three strains of mice (BALB/cByJ, C57BL/6ByJ, and CD-1), differing in reactivity to stressors and also as a function of the type of stressor employed. While footshock reduced mitogen-stimulated B-cell proliferation in BALB/cByJ mice, it had the opposite effect in the CD-1 strain. Exposure to the predator, however, had little effect in any of the strains. Macrophage activity and NK cytotoxicity were reduced in response to both stressors in a strain-dependent fashion. Plasma corticosterone in response to footshock was greater in BALB/cByJ than in C57BL/6ByJ mice; however, the strain difference was not evident in response to the psychogenic stressor. It is suggested that analyses of stressor effects on immune functioning need to consider the specific strain/species employed, the particular immune parameters being examined, and the nature of the stressor employed.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity