Influence of stress factors on immune system

V. L. Sokolenko, S. V. Sokolenko


Introduction. To common environmental factors that cause the dynamics of indicators of natural resistance, we can refer stress of diverse nature. Contamination of large areas with radionuclides due to the Chernobyl accident is considered to be an additional stress factor for the population of Ukraine. If we take into consideration possible psycho-emotional stress, the synergistic interaction of expressed immunosuppressants can be predicted.

Purpose. The aim of this research is to determine the changes of natural resistance in the conditions of individual and combined influence of stress factors.

Methods. The examined were divided into two groups: residents of radiation free areas (control group) and the inhabitants of the areas of enhanced radiation monitoring. We evaluated the impact of additional emotional and physical activity at physical training lessons during studying at the University, the role of immunogenetic factors of blood in the functioning of immune system, and the length of the recovery period. Indicators of cellular immunity were determined by immunophenotyping and dyeing on Romanowsky-Giemsa. The level of immunoglobulins in blood plasma was determined by radial immunodiffusion on Mancini. Haptoglobin phenotype (Hp) was determined by electrophoresis in starch gels. To assess blood groups on AB0 system we used hemagglutinating blood serum. To assess the phenotype of Rh factor, a quick test of determining Rh-groups was used.

Results. We have found that examined from radiation free areas have quite stable natural resistance indices, and under conditions of emotional stress demonstrate changes that don't go beyond homeostatic norm. Recovery period is within two weeks. In residents of territories contaminated with radionuclides, there can be observed a redistribution of indices of nonspecific immunity in favor of polymorphonuclear neutrophils, a statistically significant decrease of functionally mature T-lymphocytes with phenotypes CD3+ and CD4+, immunoregulatory index CD4+/CD8+ and the level of natural killer cells with phenotype CD16+. Also, an increase of serum immunoglobulin (IgG and IgM) level is observed on the background of the absence of strongly pronounced dynamics of antibody-forming cells. Under conditions of influence of psycho-emotional stress, in this group we observe the indicators of specific immune suppression (going beyond the limits of physiological homeostatic norm), the most pronounced at certain combinations of genetic markers of blood. The duration of the recovery period of examined is more than three weeks. Moderate exercising at the lessons of physical education and trainings, cause in all patients, regardless of their place of residence or genetic components, moderate dynamics of immune system indices, compensated during a short period of time.

Conclusion. Thus, the main immunosuppressant of stressful nature is the chronic effect of low doses of radiation, while sensitivity to this effect is significantly determined by genetic factors and emotional stress.


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