Suppression of lymphocyte mitogenesis in different rat strains exposed to footshock during early diurnal and nocturnal time periods

Alexander W. Kusnecov, Michael R. Shurin, Ada Armfield, Jennifer Litz, Paul Wood, Daohong Zhou, Bruce S. Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The present study examined stressor interactions with genotype and light/dark cycle. Male Brown Norway (BN), Fischer 344 (F344), Lewis (from two different vendors: Lew/CR and Lew/H) and Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were exposed to footshock either in the early light or early dark circadian phase. Immediately after footshock, the spleen and whole blood proliferation to PHA and Con A was assessed. To provide endocrine indices of stress, serum was measured for corticosterone and interleukin-6 (IL-6). All rats showed significant increases in serum corticosterone and IL-6 following footshock either in the light or the dark. Rat strain differences were noted in the IL-6 response, while the corticosterone response was strong for all strains. The criterion for 'suppression' of lymphocyte proliferation was p < .05 (as determined by ANOVA) compared to non-shocked controls. Spleen: with the exception of BN rats, the other strains showed suppressed spleen cell proliferation to PHA and Con A both in the light and the dark. BN rats failed to show suppression of mitogenic activity to PHA when footshock was given in the light. Peripheral blood lymphocytes: suppression in Lew rats from either vendor, and in F344 and BN rats, did not vary with time of day nor with the type of mitogen tested. SD rats did not show suppression to PHA if shocked in the light. These results highlight the generality of stressor-induced mitogenic lymphocyte proliferation during the early diurnal and nocturnal periods of the day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-835
Number of pages15
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosterone
  • Diurnal
  • Electric shock
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lymphocyte proliferation
  • Nocturnal
  • Rats
  • Strain
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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