High versus low basal cortisol secretion in asymptomatic, medication-free HIV-infected men: differential effects of severe life stress on parameters of immune status.
The authors hypothesized that HIV-infected men with high basal cortisol secretion would exhibit greater stress-related reductions in the ratio of Th1/Th2 cell-derived cytokines and numbers of CD8+ T and NK lymphocytes than low basal cortisol secretors. A semistructured interview was used to assess life stress during the preceding 6 months of 94 HIV-infected men classified as high and low cortisol secretors (n = 47/group). Increased levels of severe life stress were highly correlated with lower numbers of CD8+ T cells, CD16+ and CD56+ NK cells, CD57+ cells, and higher DHEA-S concentrations in the high cortisol group. Conversely, no significant correlations were found in the low cortisol group. No correlations were found between stress and CD4+ T helper/inducer cell counts, cytokine production, or testosterone levels in either participating group. These data suggest that severe stress in combination with high glucocorticoid activity may modify select parameters of immune status in HIV-infected men.
Petitto, JM; Leserman, J; Perkins, DO; Stern, RA; Silva, SG; Gettes, D; Zheng, B; Folds, JD; Golden, RN; Evans, DL
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