Explore BrainMass

Stress and the Inflammatory Response

The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science and read the section related to the immune system in closer detail. Using this as a starting point, complete the requirements below using paragraph format to address each topic:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Note that the inflammatory response and the complement system are mentioned in the article. Now learn more about the inflammatory response and the inflammatory mediators. You will find information on the complement system as well. Do a little research on these components and provide a paragraph explaining the normal function and steps associated with signaling these components. Identify where in this cascade of signaling events that cortisol is thought to interfere.

Paragraph 2: PTSD and the Complement System

Now compare the theory mentioned in the Dartmouth article to the findings in this study on PTSD and the complement system. Focus on the Abstract and Discussion sections of this study on PTSD. Address the following questions:
1.What did they find in common among PTSD patients?
2.How does alteration of the complement affect the inflammatory response?


Hovhannisyan, L. P., Mkrtchyan, G. M., Sukiasian, S. H., & Boyajyan, A. S. (2010). Alterations in the complement cascade in post-traumatic stress disorder. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, 6(1), 3.
Paragraph 3: Inflammatory

Response and the Brain

Finally, read The Consequences of the Inflamed Brain and draw connections between the inflammatory response and brain function and behavior. How are the CNS and the immune system interconnected? How does the inflammatory response affect mood and behavior?

Which component of the nervous system reacts to an infection? What are the implications for mood and behavior if the inflammatory response is prolonged? What types of things might cause the inflammatory response to become prolonged or exaggerated?


Paragraph 4: Conclusions

To complete this assignment, "connect the dots" between the influence of stress on the immune system, the potential effects that PTSD can have on the inflammatory response (remember this occurs after an extremely stressful event and is related to dysregulation of cortisol), and the perpetuation of depression and other symptoms of PTSD

Solution Preview

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Cortisol suppresses inflammation by preventing the release of histamine. This causes the body to be more susceptible to diseases. Immunity relies in part on T-lymphocyte cells, which respond to interleukins—a type of cytokine molecules expressed by white blood cells—via a pathway of signals. In other words, interleukins are proteins that mediate the transfer of messages between cells. The T-lymphocyte cells are part of the component system that regulates immunity. Under normal circumstances, a stimulus such as an infectious agent causes interleukins to be secreted. When the interleukin reaches the target cell, a receptor molecule on the surface of the cell binds to the interleukin. This binding starts a series of signals in the target cell that cause the cell to react to the infection. Over time, cortisol interferes in this cascade of signaling events, by preventing T-cells from recognizing these signals, which in turn stops T-cells from multiplying. The result is that the cortisol released abates the immune response.

Paragraph 2: PTSD and the Complement System

The study showed that among PTSD patients, the complement classical pathway experiences hyperactivity. In addition, among PTSD patients, the complement alternative pathway is ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses stress and the inflammatory response in 759 words. Four sources are cited.