In this study, the effect of restraint stress on alterations in the immune cell distrubution was examined in bone marrow, liver, thymus, and spleen. In bone marrow, stress induced a striking increase in both the proportion and number of CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD8+, B220brightIgM+, CD3–IL-2Rβ+ and CD3intIL-2Rβ+ cells. Such an increase was partially reversed by pretreatment with RU-486, a steroid receptor antagonist, while it was profoundly enhanced by either sympathectomy with 6-hydroxydopamine hydrobromide or by a β-adrenergic blockade with propranolol, a β-adrenergic receptor antagonist; this suggests that corticosteroids and catecholamines may act in opposition with regard to such an immune-cell accumulation in bone marrow. In the liver, stress decreased the proportions of CD3intIL-2Rβ+, CD3–IL-2Rβ+, and B220brightIgM+ cells, while it increased the proportion of CD3brightIL-2Rβ– cells, thus demonstrating that different subpopulations were differentially affected. In the thymus and spleen, stress only slightly affected the proportions of lymphocyte subpopulations, although both tissues showed a drastic reduction in the number of lymphocytes. Taken together, these results suggest that restraint stress induces tissue-specific changes in the immune-cell distribution.
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