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Psychological stress and neutrophil function

Suliman Khanfer, Riyad (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Little is known about neutrophil function, an important component of innate immunity, in relation to psychosocial factors. This thesis investigated the effect of acute and chronic psychological stressors on human neutrophil function among young and older adults. The first two studies examined the effects of an acute laboratory psychological stress task on neutrophil function in young and older adults, respectively. Blood samples to determine neutrophil function were taken at resting baseline, during acute stress and during recovery. In the first study (N=40), there was an acute increase in phagocytic ability and a reduction of superoxide production associated with the stress task relative to baseline. In study two (N =17), there was a significant reduction of neutrophil superoxide production associated with the stress task. Study three (N=48) examined the effect of chronic stress, a recent bereavement (<2 months), on neutrophil function in elders. Cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEAS) levels were determined in serum to assess potential mechanisms. Superoxide production was significantly reduced among the bereaved group when challenged with E. Coli; also, the bereaved had a significantly higher cortisol:DHEAS ratio compared to controls. Overall, this thesis shows that human neutrophil function is sensitive to both acute and chronic psychological stress exposures; however, more research is needed to determine the specific underlying mechanisms behind the observed alterations.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Phillips, Anna and Carroll, Douglas and Lord, Janet
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
RC1200 Sports Medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3093
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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