intact immune system

intact immune system.

The damage to the immune system by stress, mediated through
the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, has been shown to be due to the
increase in serum levels of cortisol. In one study, elderly caregivers
were shown to have higher cortisol levels and poor antibody
response to influenza vaccine. 148 The impact of cortisol on im-
mune and other regulatory functions like blood sugar, dehydro-
epiandrosterone (DHEA), insulin, testosterone, and bone
resorption, flag it as having highly destructive potential. Anxiety,
depression, heart disease, AIDS, and osteoporosis have all been
linked with elevated cortisol levels. DHEA, another adrenal
hormone, is also modulated by stress physiology, although it seems
to have the opposite effect to cortisol. High levels of DHEA seem
to protect the body from the damaging effects of elevated cortisol.
Ratios of DHEA to cortisol are highly predictive of the individu-
al’s ability to tolerate stress. 149
Current reviews of the literature relating psychological stress
and immune dysfunction support the hypothesis that homeostatic
immune mechanisms, both humoral and cellular, are significantly
impaired by both natural and experimental stress. 4,1 14,134,150
Hypertension, 151 common colds, 152 coronary artery disease, 153
and myocardial ischemia 154 were linked to adverse stress physi-
ology. Stress even has the ability to increase permeability of the
blood-brain barrier. 155 The implications of stress-related alter-
ations in the blood-brain barrier exposes important insights into
enigmatic diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and stress-
induced neurologic disorders.

2 thoughts on “intact immune system

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