Stress conditioning in mice: Alterations in immunity and tumor growth

Noa Benaroya-Milshtein, Nurit Hollander, Alan Apter, Isaac Yaniv, Chaim G. Pick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous systems are known regulators of brain-immune interaction. However, the functional significance of this interaction under stress is not fully understood. We investigated the effect of a stress paradigm by applying electric foot shock followed by three reminders, on behavior, immune parameters, and lymphoma tumor growth. Male C3H mice were divided into two groups: Group 1-exposed to electric foot shock followed by three reminders, and Group 2-untreated (controls). Sets of mice underwent the elevated plus maze, staircase, and hot plate tests. After foot shock, natural killer (NK) cell activity, and lymphocyte proliferation were measured. In addition, sets of mice were either vaccinated twice with B-cell lymphoma 38C-13 immunoglobulin for determination of anti-idiotype (Id) antibodies in sera, or inoculated with tumor cells and monitored for tumor development and survival time. Mice exposed to electric foot shock followed by the three reminders had higher NK cell activity, levels of anti-Id antibodies, and a higher proliferation rate of splenocytes in response to mitogens, than the control mice. The exposed mice also showed attenuated tumor growth. Thus, the stress paradigm inhibited tumor development and lead to some immune changes that were not accompanied by behavioral changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-311
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Elevated plus maze
  • NK cells
  • foot shock
  • lymphoma
  • mice
  • stress


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