Preliminary evidence for lymphocyte distribution differences at rest and after acute psychological stress in PTSD-symptomatic women.

TitlePreliminary evidence for lymphocyte distribution differences at rest and after acute psychological stress in PTSD-symptomatic women.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGlover, DA, Steele AC, Stuber ML, Fahey JL
JournalBrain, behavior, and immunity
Volume19
Issue3
Pagination243-51
Date Published2005 May
ISSN0889-1591
KeywordsAdult, Analysis of Variance, Blood Cell Count, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Female, Humans, Killer Cells, Natural, Life Change Events, Lymphocyte Subsets, Middle Aged, Problem Solving, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Stress, Psychological, T-Lymphocytes
Abstract

This study investigated circulating natural killer (NK), CD4+ and CD8+ cells in response to acute psychological challenge among mothers of child cancer survivors with and without posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Control mothers of healthy children (n=9) were compared to 17 cancer mothers with (PTSS: n=9) and without PTSS (No PTSS: n=7) under conditions of rest, after a generic stressor (MAT: mental arithmetic task) and a personalized stressor (script-driven trauma imagery), and after recovery from each stressor. Results indicate the PTSS group had higher percentage CD4+ and lower CD8+ levels than non-symptomatic women and blunted NK reactivity to generic challenge. Multiple regression analyses indicated PTSS effects were independent of self-reported distress. Contrary to expectations, cancer mothers without PTSS were not significantly different from controls on tonic or phasic immune outcomes. Also unlike predictions, reactivity to challenge was greatest to the non-social MAT stressor compared to the personalized challenge for all groups. Conclusions are constrained by study limitations (e.g., small sample size and potential phase order effects). Nonetheless, results are consistent with an emerging literature on PTSS-associated immune differences and further suggest these effects may be distinct from that associated with subjective distress more generally.

DOI10.1111/j.1399-5618.2012.00989.x
Alternate JournalBrain Behav. Immun.