Outline of Effect of Stress on the Immune System

Outline of Effect of Stress on the Immune Functions Main Subjects Discussed in Article The biological and psychological processes stress has on the immune system.
Stress is an adverse psychological condition that causes the body to go through a series of changes as a coping mechanism.
Psychological stress triggers a cascade of psychological and behavioral responses aimed at defending the host.
During stressful events, the hormonal axis, which is made up of organs that make up the neuroendocrine system, regulates body processes and controls stress responses.
The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are linked to the gonads by neuroendocrine frameworks that convey environmental signals.
The immune response changes as a result of changes in the hormone system. Title and Authors of the Article

Dhabhar, F S, et al. “Effects of stress on immune cell distribution—dynamics and hormonal mechanisms.” The Journal of Immunology, vol. 154, no. 10, 15 May 1995, pp. 5511–5527., www.jimmunol.org/content/154/10/5511.

Explanation of the terms important for understanding the article

Hormonal changes upset the balance between humoral and cell-mediated immunity. For example, the adrenal gland produces hormones needed for metabolic functions including epinephrine which regulates glucose levels, and cortisol which is essential in maintaining the immunity. The increase in cortisol production results in suppression of neutrophil function which falls under the class of white blood cells needed for immunity.

Chronic stress has many grave impacts on human health, and several of these impacts are arbitrated through several stress events on the immune system. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the biological and psychological mechanisms on how stressors weaken one’s health. Stress can majorly be defined as a psychophysiological course that is majorly accompanied with negative emotional state resulting in a coping ability that is available for an individual. Stressors can either be physical, cognitive or a combination of both and these are further categorized into acute, sub-chronic and chronic stressors depending on their duration. Acute stressors last from minutes to hours, while sub-chronic stressors last less than one month. Anything that lasts from months to years is considered as a chronic stressor. In most cases, psychological stress initiates chord of psychological and behavioral responses which are intended to protect the host.

HPA axis, as well as autonomic nervous system, offers an interface between organ systems and psychological stress. The release of hormones that is stress-induced partially affects the function of immune system, and such effects can be seen in both the health and diseases.

According to Dhabhar et al., (p 5516) acute stress that enhances immune function can help in developing mechanism that is adaptive psychophysiologically and that increases immune protection from stressors. When viewed from the evolutionary perspective, dealing successfully with stressors is what enables one to survive, and therefore under al stressors, immunosuppression would not be adaptive. What the brain does is it recognizes the stressors and warns the body of the impending dangers thus promotes survival. In several cases, the several stressors that activate the immune response perhaps are those that have encountered previously. The immune cells are always on the permanent move within the surveillance pathways that transport them from the heart to different organs and back into the blood. This circulation ensures that there is an efficient network of immune defense and by stress weakening or strengthening this system; it is what leads to development or enhancement of certain ailments.

Relevance of the Article to my Experience in Biology 101

The article is of fundamental significance to my experience in Biology 101 since it brings out the concepts learned in the subject. Notably, the biological processes explained in the article are relevant and seek to broaden the overall understanding of Biology 101.

Rationale for choosing the article

The article was chosen because of its ability to explain in detail the subject matter which was stress. The decision to read the article would help in shading more light on the issue of stress which has grave health effects.

Question that comes to mind after reading the article

What is the relationship between stress and depression and whether hormones and the immune system play a role?

Example of Biological Concept and how it relates to personal life

The concept illustrates the whole issue of stress which is part of our daily lives. The biological changes occurring with regard to stress significantly affect my wellbeing.

Work Cited

Dhabhar, F S, et al. “Effects of stress on immune cell distribution-dynamics and hormonal mechanisms.” The Journal of Immunology, vol. 154, no. 10, 15 May 1995, pp. 5511–5527., www.jimmunol.org/content/154/10/5511.

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