Coping and immunosuppression: inescapable but not escapable shock suppresses lymphocyte proliferation

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Science  05 Aug 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4610, pp. 568-570
DOI: 10.1126/science.6603018


Rats were given series of escapable shocks, identical inescapable shocks, or no shock. The subjects were reexposed to a small amount of shock 24 hours later, after which an in vitro measure of the cellular immune response was examined. Lymphocyte proliferation in response to the mitogens phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A was suppressed in the inescapable shock group but not in the escapable shock group. This suggests that the controllability of stressors is critical in modulating immune functioning.

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