Stress and Disease Processes

By Neil Schneiderman; Philip McCabe et al. | Go to book overview

these peptides may be involved in enhancing the resistance to superficial tissue damage gained during the social confrontation. In this chapter, I avoided discussing the involvement of adrenal glucocorticoids within the context of stress-induced immunomodulation. The role of glucocorticoids in immunoregulation is complex and certainly needs further elucidation. However, it should be noted that ACTH, as part of the POMC precursor, stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete glucocorticoids. These hormones are considered to be generally immunosuppressive. Thus, part of the POMC precursor can induce immunoinhibitory signals (glucocorticoids) to terminate its own direct immunoenhancing properties. This view is in line with current thoughts of the role of glucocorticoids in the defense to stress as formulated by Munck, Guyer, and Holbrook ( 1984), stating that glucocorticoids do not protect against the source of stress itself, but rather against the body's normal reaction to stress, preventing those reactions from overshooting and themselves threatening homeostasis.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank Dr. C Heijnen for her technical assistance in performing some of the immunological assays, Rob Binnekade for his skillful help in performing the in vivo experiments, and Janet Edmond ( Fishberg Research Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York) and Henk Nordsiek for reproducing the figures. This study was supported by the Royal Dutch Academy for Sciences and Arts.


REFERENCES

Axelrod J., & Reisine T. D. ( 1984). "Stress hormones: Their interaction and regulation". Science, 224,452-459.

Berkenbosch F., Heijnen C. J., Croiset G., Revers C., Ballieux R. E., Binnekade R., & Tilders F. J. H. ( 1986). "Endocrine and immunological responses to acute stress". In N. P. Plotnikoff , R. E. Faith, & R. A. Good (Eds.), Enkephalins and endorphins: Stress and the immune system (pp. 109-118). New York, London: Plenum Press.

Berkenbosch F., Oers van J. W. A. M., Del A. Rey, Tilders F. J. H., & Beseclovsky H. O. ( 1987). "Corticotropin-releasing factor producing neurons in the rat activated by interleukin-1". Science, 238,524-526.

Berkenbosch F., Schipper J., & Tilders F. J. H. ( 1986). "Corticotropin-releasing factor immunostaining in the rat spinal cord and medulla oblongata: An unexpected form of cross reactivity with substance P". Brain Research, 399,87-96.

Berkenbosch F., & Tilders F. J. H. ( 1988). "Effects of axonal transport blockade on corticotropin releasing factor immunoreactivity in the median eminence of intact and adrenalectomized rats: Relationship between depletion rate and secretory activity". Brain Research, 442,312-317.

Berkenbosch F., Tilders F. J. H., & Vermes I. ( 1983). "Beta-adrenoceptor activation mediates stress-induced secretion of beta-endorphin and related peptides from intermediate but not anterior pituitary". Nature, 305,237-239.

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