ABSTRACT: Although studies have shown that psychological stress has detrimental effects on bronchial asthma, there are few objective data on whether early-life stress, as early postnatal psychosocial environment, has a long-lasting effect on adult asthma and the potential pathophysiologic mechanism. This study aims to examine the effects on immune function and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses in adult asthmatic rats that experienced stress in early life and the potential ameliorative effects of music therapy on these parameters.
Forty male Wistar rat pups were randomly assigned to the asthma group, the adulthood-stressed asthma group, the childhood-stressed asthma group, the music group, and the control group. Restraint stress and Mozart's Sonata K.448 were applied to ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthmatic rats to establish psychological stress and music therapy models. The levels of serum corticosterone were examined in both childhood after stress and adulthood after OVA challenge. Immune indicators in blood, lung, and brain tissues were measured after the last OVA challenge.
Stress in both childhood and adulthood resulted in increases in leukocyte and eosinophil numbers and serum interleukin (IL)-4 levels. The adulthood-stressed group demonstrated increased corticosterone levels after challenge, whereas the childhood-stressed group showed increased corticosterone concentration in childhood but decreased level in adulthood. Central IL-1beta exhibited a similar tendency. Music group rats showed reduced serum IL-4 and corticosterone.
Stress in childhood and adulthood resulted in different HPA axis responsiveness in the exacerbation of markers of asthma. These data provide the first evidence of the long-term normalizing effects of music on asthmatic rats.
Journal of Asthma 06/2010; 47(5):526-31. · 1.52 Impact Factor