The Effect of Psychological Stress on Neutrophil Superoxide Release

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Research in Nursing and Health

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DOI: 10.1002/nur.4770170507


Stress has long been suggested to exacerbate symptom expression in people with chronic inflammatory disorders. The release of oxidative metabolites from activated PMN plays a significant role in the pathophysiology of inflammation. Thus, we examined the effects of psychological stress on release of superoxide anions from PMN of rats with or without an inflammation induced by injection of shellfish glycogen (SFG). Psychological stress was found to significantly increase PMN superoxide release in both healthy and SFG-injected animals. Total amounts of superoxide release were similar between the two groups, suggesting that PMN from animals with a mild inflammatory condition were not more susceptible to the effects of stress than PMN from healthy animals. However, this study should be repeated using an animal model of chronic inflammation, such as airway hyperactivity or rheumatoid arthritis.


Research in Nursing and Health, Vol. 17, No. 5 (1994, October): 363-370. DOI.

Donna McCarthy was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin - Madison at the time of publication.