Psychologic characteristics associated with acute stressor-induced leukocyte subset redistribution
Abstract This study examined relationships between psychologic characteristics and enumerative immune responses to an acute laboratory stressor. Lymphocyte subsets were measured in 104 subjects at rest and following a 6-minute laboratory naturalistic speaking stressor. Multiple linear regression was utilized to assess relationships between immune reactivity (change scores) and anger expression, hostility, anxiety, depression, and stress. The task resulted in significant increases over baseline in WBC ( p <0.001), T-suppressor/cytotoxic CD8 cells ( p = 0.010) natural killer CD56 cells ( p <0.001), and CD57 ( p <0.0001) cells, and significant decreases in T-cells ( p = 0.012), T-helper cells ( p = 0.003), B-cells ( p <0.001), and the T-helper/suppressor ratio ( p <0.001). In general, the regression suggested that moderate associations exist between certain psychologic attributes and acute subset redistribution. For example, the increase in natural killer cell subsets was significantly negatively associated with anger expression, hostility, and depression. Suppressor/cytotoxic (CD8) cell reactivity was associated with baseline as well as with the task-induced changes in anxiety. B-cell (CD19) responses were related to the subject's age, expression of anger, and depression scores. As with the cardiovascular reactivity literature, these findings suggest that a relationship exists between certain psychologic characteristics such as anger and anxiety and immune reactivity to acute stress.
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