HPA and Immune Axes in Stress: Involvement of the Serotonergic System

Pharmacology Department, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
NeuroImmunoModulation (Impact Factor: 1.88). 02/2006; 13(5-6):268-76. DOI: 10.1159/000104854
Source: PubMed


Chronic stress, by initiating changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system, acts as a trigger for anxiety and depression. There is experimental and clinical evidence that the rise in the concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines and glucocorticoids, which occurs in a chronically stressful situation and also in depression, contributes to the behavioural changes associated with depression. A defect in serotonergic function is associated with these hormonal and immune changes. Neurodegenerative changes in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdalae are the frequent outcomes of the changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the immune system. Such changes may provide evidence for the link between chronic depression and dementia in later life.

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    • "At the cortical level, evidence suggests that yoga helps in pain reduction due to production of endorphin resulting from alternate stretch and relax procedures of physical postures done with awareness.[30] At limbic level, yoga offers mastery over the emotional surges through controlled and need based physiological responses to stressfully demanding situations instead of uncontrolled overtones of (HPA axis) hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis during chronic pain.[31] Studies also point to reduction in sympathetic arousal following yoga based relaxation techniques.[21] "
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    International Journal of Yoga 07/2014; 7(2):111-9. DOI:10.4103/0973-6131.133884
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    • "However, when examining the relationship between the HPA axis and the immune system in physiological or pathophysiological states, the situation appears more complex. Glucocorticoids modulate the immune system through binding to receptors expressed by immune cells, which down-regulates transcription of pro-inflammatory genes and up-regulates production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (Barnes, 2006; Leonard, 2006). Glucocorticoids also regulate the circulating numbers, tissue distribution and activity profile of lymphocytes in a timedependent manner [comprehensively reviewed in Dhabhar (2009)]. "
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