Effects of postnatal social isolation on hormonal and immune responses of pigs to an acute endotoxin challenge.

Forschungsbereich Verhaltensphysiologie, Forschungsinstitut für die Biologie landwirtschaftlicher Nutztiere, Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, D-18196, Dummerstorf, Germany.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.03). 10/2004; 82(2-3):503-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.04.056
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Social stress during early postnatal life often results in long-term effects on neuroendocrine and immune adaptation mechanisms. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the influence of a 2-h daily social isolation from Day 3 to Day 11 on the acute and long-term proinflammatory and neuroendocrine responses of piglets challenged with the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 microg/kg body weight). Peripheral LPS administration significantly increased plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), ACTH and cortisol in isolated and control pigs. However, the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis after LPS stimulation was not significantly affected by isolation treatment, whereas the prior social isolation diminished the plasma TNF-alpha response to LPS 1 day as well as 45 days after the isolation period. The hippocampal TNF-alpha concentration in response to LPS was also reduced in priorly isolated pigs compared to control animals. Furthermore, the significant increase of TNF-alpha in the spleen caused by LPS was associated with a dramatic decrease in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binding. The GR binding in hippocampus was increased in isolated pigs and was significantly decreased after LPS injection. In addition, the repeated isolation stressor was shown to increase hippocampal levels of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). The present results indicate that repeated social isolation of neonatal pigs may cause long-term effects on proinflammatory regulation at the periphery and in the brain following immune challenge with particular importance of TNF-alpha in mediating these interactions.

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