The effects of stressor application on the splenic plaque-forming cell (PFC) response was assessed in two strains of mice: the BALB/cByJ strain, which is highly responsive to stressors; and the more hardy DBA/2J strain. Both strains exhibited a peak PFC response 120 h following administration of sheep red blood cells (SRBC; 5 x 106 cells). Stressor exposure reduced the immune response; however, the appearance of such an outcome was dependent upon the time at which the stressor was applied relative to SRBC inoculation. In DBA/2J mice, foot-shock applied either immediately after SRBC inoculation or at the time of the peak immune response (120 h) resulted in suppression of the PFC response. In BALB/cByJ mice, both stressor severities provoked an immunosuppression when applied 120 h after inoculation, but when applied 96 h after immunization only foot-shock reduced the PFC response. At other intervals, the stressors were without effect. Pretreatment with the β-norepinephrine antagonist propranolol precluded the immunosuppression elicited by a stressor applied 96 h after inoculation, but did not affect the reduction of the PFC response elicited by a stressor applied 120 h after inoculation. It is suggested that several factors may contribute to stressor-provoked alterations of the immune response, and that the contribution of these factors vary over the course of an immune response being mounted.

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Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Department of Psychology

Kerr, L. (Leslie), Drummond, L. (Leslie), Zaharia, M. (Marilee), Clelford, J. (Joanne), & Anisman, H. (1996). Stressor-induced alterations of the splenic plaque-forming cell response: Strain differences and modification by propranolol. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 53(2), 235–241. doi:10.1016/0091-3057(95)00201-4