[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to stressors may lead to subsequent alterations in the immune response. The precise mechanisms underlying such vulnerability are poorly understood, but may be hypothesized to include changes in cytokine systems. Maternal separation was used as a model of exposure to early life stressors. Subsequent cytokine gene expression was studied using a cytokine gene expression array. Maternal separation resulted in significant down-regulation of the expression of 6 cytokine genes; chemokine ligand 7, chemokine receptor 4, interleukin 10, interleukin-1beta, interleukin 5 receptor alpha and integrin alpha M. Specific cytokines may be involved in mediating the effects of early adversity on subsequent immunosuppression. Further work is needed to delineate fully the relationship between early adversity, immune alterations, and behavioural changes.