Journal Article

Environmental Stress Mediates Changes in Neuroimmunological Interactions

Elliot M. Friedman and David A. Lawrence

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 67, issue 1, pages 4-10
Published in print May 2002 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online May 2002 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Environmental Stress Mediates Changes in Neuroimmunological Interactions

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Combinations of environmental stress coordinately increase toxicological assaults on health, dependent on the genetics of the exposed organism. Multiple gene variances between individuals influence the risks associated with environmental exposures, and environmental stress presents in multiple forms including chemical, physical, and psychological stresses. Combined chemical, physical, and psychological stresses are suggested as exacerbating the initiation and/or duration of illnesses, and many of the detrimental outcomes on health are posited to relate to changes in neuroendocrine immune circuitry. However, most human epidemiological or experimental animal studies have not considered the combination of chemical, physical, and psychological stress on health status. Current consideration is being given to “real world” exposures for assessment of health risk, but this mainly relates to evaluation of chemical mixtures. In addition to concomitant chemical exposures having agonistic and/or antagonistic interactions, the physical and psychological status of the individual can influence exposure outcomes. An individual's psychosocial environment is likely to be important in epidemiological investigations. Neuroimmunology is a burgeoning discipline, and neurotoxicology and immunotoxicology studies should consider the bidirectional regulatory mechanisms between these organ systems and the potential long-term influences of psychological stress. This mini-review discusses some intriguing data from animal and human studies, which address the regulatory pathways between the neural, endocrine, and immune systems, with emphasis on psychological stress.

Journal Article.  5461 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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