Could PTSD involve immune cell response to stress? Study in mice raises question

Could PTSD involve immune cell response to stress? Study in mice raises question

Chronic stress that produces inflammation and anxiety in mice appears to prime their immune systems for a prolonged fight, causing the animals to have an excessive reaction to a single acute stressor weeks later, new research suggests. After the mice recovered from the effects of chronic stress, a single stressful event 24 days later quickly returned them to a chronically stressed state in biological and behavioral terms. Mice that had not experienced the chronic stress were unaffected by the single acute stressor.

via Top Health News — ScienceDaily:

Chronic stress that produces inflammation and anxiety in mice appears to prime their immune systems for a prolonged fight, causing the animals to have an excessive reaction to a single acute stressor weeks later, new research suggests.After the mice recovered from the effects of chronic stress, a single stressful event 24 days later quickly returned them to a chronically stressed state in biological and behavioral terms. Mice that had not experienced the chronic stress were unaffected by the single acute stressor.The study further showed that immune cells called to action as a result of chronic stress ended up on standby in the animals’ spleens and were launched from that organ to respond to the later stressor.Mice without spleens did not experience the same reactivation with the second stressor, signifying the spleen’s role as a reservoir for primed immune cells to remain until they’re activated in response to another stressor.The excessive immune response and anxiety initiated by a brief stressor mimic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.The Ohio State University scientists are cautious about extending their findings to humans. But they say their decade of work with this model of stress suggests that the immune system has a significant role in affecting behavior. And they are the first to study this re-establishment of anxiety in animals with a later acute stressor.“No one else has done a study of this length to see what happens to recovered animals if we subject them again to stress,” said Jonathan Godbout, a lead author of the study and associate professor of neuroscience at Ohio State. “That retriggering is a component of post-traumatic stress. The previously stressed mice are living a normal rodent life, and then this acute stress brings everything back. Animals that have never been exposed to stress before were unaffected by that one event – it didn’t change behavioral or physiological properties.”The research is published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry.These scientists previously determined that in mice with chronic stress, cells from the immune system were recruited to the brain and promoted symptoms of anxiety. The findings identified a subset of immune cells, called monocytes, that could be targeted by drugs for treatment of mood disorders – including, potentially, the recurrent anxiety initiated by stress that is a characteristic of PTSD.The research reveals new ways of thinking about the cellular mechanisms behind the effects of stress, identifying two-way communication from the central nervous system to the periphery – the rest of the body – and back to the central nervous system that ultimately influences behavior.“We haven’t proffered that there is a cellular component to PTSD, but there very well might be. And it’s very possible that it sits in the periphery as we’ve been describing in the mouse,” said John Sheridan, senior author of the study, professor of oral biology and associate director of Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.In this model of stress, male mice living together are given time to establish a hierarchy, and then an aggressive male is added to the group for two hours at a time. The resident mice are repeatedly defeated, and this social defeat over six days leads to an inflammatory immune response and anxiety-like behavior.This kind of stress triggers the sympathetic nervous system and a commonly known fight-or-flight response. …

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Top Health News — ScienceDaily

Could PTSD involve immune cell response to stress? Study in mice raises question

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