A physical/psychological and biological stress combine to enhance endoplasmic reticulum stress

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The generation of an immune response against infectious and other foreign agents is substantially modified by allostatic load, which is increased with chemical, physical and/or psychological stressors. The physical/psychological stress from cold-restraint (CR) inhibits host defense against Listeria monocytogenes (LM), due to early effects of the catecholamine norepinephrine (NE) from sympathetic nerves on β1-adrenoceptors (β1AR) of immune cells. Although CR activates innate immunity within 2 h, host defenses against bacterial growth are suppressed 2–3 days after infection (Cao and Lawrence 2002). CR enhances inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and NO production. The early innate activation leads to cellular reduction-oxidation (redox) changes of immune cells. Lymphocytes from CR-treated mice express fewer surface thiols. Splenic and hepatic immune cells also have fewer proteins with free thiols after CR and/or LM, and macrophages have less glutathione after the in vivo CR exposure or exposure to NE in vitro. The early induction of CR-induced oxidative stress elevates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which could interfere with keeping phagocytized LM within the phagosome or re-encapsuling LM by autophagy once they escape from the phagosome. ER stress-related proteins, such as glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), have elevated expression with CR and LM. The results indicate that CR enhances the unfolded protein response (UPR), which interferes with host defenses against LM. Thus, it is postulated that increased stress, as exists with living conditions at low socioeconomic conditions, can lower host defenses against pathogens because of oxidative and ER stress processes.

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