Table 1

 Summary of the effects of adverse life events and acute experimental stress on systemic immune and inflammatory function in humans

StressNo of subjectsEffectReference
TSST, Trier social stress test; MAT, mental arithmetic test; Stroop, word-colour interference test; HV, healthy volunteers; NK, natural killer; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; IL, interleukin; TNF-α, tumour necrosis factor α; IFN-γ, interferon γ; PLA, platelet-leucocyte aggregate; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cell.
Stressful life events
    Bereavement20 000 widows and widowersIncreased mortalityLusyne58
    Bereavement37 widowsDecreased NK and cytotoxic T cell activityIrwin24
    Major depression36 HVReduced NK cell numberFrank25
    Major depression46 depressed patients and 46 HVReduced NK cell activityChu26
    Geriatric depression166 depressed patientsReduced CD4 and CD8 lymphocytesFortes27
    Adolescent depression36 depressed and 36 HVReduced NK cell numberSchleifer28
    Academic examinations64 adolescentsReduced lymphocyte proliferation and neutrophil production of superoxidesKang59
    Academic examinations38 HVIncreased TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6 production by LPS
>stimulated whole blood
Acute experimental stress
    TSST32 HVIncreased IL-6 production by LPS stimulated
>whole blood
    TSST25 HVIncreased IL-1β and TNF-α production by LPS
>stimulated whole blood
    TSST15 HVIncreased IFN-γ and IL-10 production by PBMCJacobs43
    Stroop13 HVIncreased serum IL-6 levelsSteptoe44
    TSST30 HVIncreased CD8 lymphocytes and NK cellsMarsland31
    TSST, MAT15 atopic dermatitis, 15 HVIncreased CD8 and NK cellsSchmid-Ott45
    TSST15 HVIncreased NK cellsPawlak57
    MAT23 HVIncreased NK cell number and lytic activityPike34
    Dichotomous listening test20 quiescent UCIncreased leucocyte count and NK cell numberMawdsley47
    Stroop11 HV under 35Increased thrombin induced platelet fibrinognen bindingWallen49
    MAT12 HVIncreased platelet dependent thrombin generationKawano54
    Stroop40 HVIncreased platelet dependent ATP secretionMalkoff50
    Stroop8 HVIncreased platelet dependent beta-thromboglobulin and serotonin secretionNaesh48
    Stroop37 HVIncreased PLA formationSteptoe55
    Dichotomous listening test20 quiescent UCIncreased platelet activation and PLA formationMawdsley 51