NYMC Faculty Publications


Repeated Stress Exaggerates Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammatory Response in the Rat Spleen

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2018


Environmental Health Science


Spleen is an immune organ innervated with sympathetic nerves which together with adrenomedullary system control splenic immune functions. However, the mechanism by which prior stress exposure modulates the immune response induced by immunogenic challenge is not sufficiently clarified. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a single (2 h) and repeated (2 h daily for 7 days) immobilization stress (IMO) on the innate immune response in the spleen induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 100 microg/kg). LPS elevated splenic levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine, while prior IMO prevented this response. LPS did not alter de novo production of catecholamines, however, prior IMO attenuated phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase gene expression. Particularly repeated IMO exacerbated LPS-induced down-regulation of alpha1B- and beta1-adrenergic receptors (ARs), while enhanced alpha2A- and beta2-AR mRNAs. Elevated expression of inflammatory mediators (iNOS2, IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-10) was observed following LPS and repeated IMO again potentiated this effect. These changes were associated with enhanced Ly6C gene expression, a monocyte marker, and elevated MCP-1, GM-CSF, and CXCL1 mRNAs suggesting an increased recruitment of monocytes and neutrophils into the spleen. Additionally, we observed increased Bax/Bcl-1 mRNA ratio together with reduced B cell numbers in rats exposed to repeated IMO and treated with LPS but not in acutely stressed rats. Altogether, these data indicate that repeated stress via changes in CA levels and specific alpha- and beta-AR subtypes exaggerates the inflammatory response likely by recruiting peripheral monocytes and neutrophils to the spleen, resulting in the induction of apoptosis within this tissue, particularly in B cells. These changes may alter the splenic immune functions with potentially pathological consequences.