Consequences of restraint stress on natural killer cell activity, behavior, and hormone levels in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Author: Morrow-Tesch JL//McGlone JJ//Norman RL
Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock
Conference/Journal: Psychoneuroendocrinology
Date published: 1993
Other: Volume ID: 18 , Issue ID: 5-6 , Pages: 383-95 , Word Count: 235

Three experiments were performed to determine the effect of stress on the neuroendocrine-immune system in nonhuman primates. In Experiment 1 the diurnal variation in cell and hormone levels was determined. The percentages of neutrophils, monocytes, and eosinophils fluctuated throughout the 24-hr period, while white blood cell (WBC), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (N:L), hemoglobin (Hgb), natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NK activity) and beta-endorphin levels did not. Experiment 2 investigated the effects of ketamine and restraint on behavior. Scratching was increased in control monkeys and animals receiving ketamine, whereas passivity was increased in chair-restrained animals. In Experiment 3, eight adult male rhesus monkeys were restrained in primate chairs at 0600h. Behavior was filmed for 3 hr and blood samples were collected at 0700, 0800, and 0900. Whole blood was analyzed for total WBC and percentage of each leukocyte type. NK activity was also measured. Plasma levels of cortisol and beta-endorphin were determined and behavior was quantitated from video-records. WBC and the percentage of neutrophils increased during the restraint period, while the percent lymphocytes and monocytes decreased. NK activity also decreased over time after restraint whereas plasma cortisol and beta-endorphin levels increased significantly. Although after the 3 hr of restraint stress, changes were found in hormone levels, behavior, and NK activity, there were no significant correlations between the parameters measured. Thus, our results indicate that there is not a common neuroendocrine response or single neuroendocrine mediator that results in predictable behavioral changes and immune suppression following stress.