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Cytokine and hormone profiles in mice subjected to handling combined with rectal temperature measurement stress and handling only stress.

Hale, K. D., Weigent, D.A., Gauthier, D.K., Hiramoto, R.N. and Ghanta, V.K.

Life Sciences, 72(13), 1495-1508 (2003).

Stress is known to either up or down regulate immunity. In this study, mice were subjected to handling combined with rectal temperature measurement (RTM) stress or handling only stress. We investigated whether there were any significant differences in the effect of handling combined with RTM and handling only on NK cell activity, serum cytokine (IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha) and ACTH and beta-endorphin levels, and splenic cytokine (IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha, IFN-alpha, and IFN-beta) levels. Circulating cytokines and hormones and splenic cytokine mRNA levels were measured in individual mice. NK cell activity was significantly increased in both stress groups when compared to the control group. Handling combined with RTM produced significantly increased serum levels of IL-1beta, IL-6, and beta-endorphin. Serum IL-1beta ACTH, and beta-endorphin were elevated significantly in the handling only group. Splenic TNFalpha mRNA in both of the stress groups and IL-6 mRNA in handling only group decreased significantly. Our observations are supported by existing literature demonstrating that various stressors have differential effects on immune functions and the neuroendocrine hormones and cytokines, which regulate them.