Effect of Social Stress on Immune Response in Female and Male Mice

Document Type : Original Article


Background: Social stress is a factor found to be involved in the etiology of many diseases. Also, gender differences are one of the factors affecting the predisposition of individuals to certain disease. Results from animal and human studies suggest that socially stressed men are more vulnerable to disease compared with socially stressed women.
Materials & Methods: The role of chronic social stress and gender differences were examined in the present study through implementing food deprivation, food intake inequality, and unstable social status (cage-mate change, every three days) for a period of 14 days in 96 male and female mice. Then, vital activity of peritoneal macrophages and spleen's lymphocytes were assessed using MTT test as well as the concentration of TNF-α using ELISA technique.
Results: Our results showed that cell viability of peritoneal macrophages and spleen's lymphocytes as well as serum concentration of TNF-α in all female and male stressed animals increased compared to controls (p<0.05). Moreover, gender differences in immune function were also apparent; in female subjects, in comparison with males, these changes were observed to be prominent.
Conclusion: The results suggest that social factors have significant effects on immunity and should be considered in the studies of gender differences for evaluating possible effective mechanisms.