The impact of high anxiety level on cellular and humoral immunity in mice

Hassan Rammal, Jaouad Bouayed*, Jaïro Falla, Naoual Boujedaini, Rachid Soulimani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: In the present study, we aimed to examine whether a high anxiety level affects various parameters of immunity in mice. Methods: We used the behavioral light/dark choice test to evaluate whether high anxiety has an impact on various parameters of cellular (granulocytes, monocytes, total lymphocytes, TCD4+, TCD8+ and NK numbers) and humoral (IgA, E and G concentrations) immunity. Secondly, we investigated whether the cellular and humoral immune systems of mice with contrasting levels of anxiety responded differently to stressors (such as physical restraint) by monitoring blood markers of the both types of immunity. Results: High levels of anxiety inhibited part of the cellular and humoral immune systems by significantly decreasing total lymphocytes numbers (including TCD4+ and TCD8 +) and immunoglobulin (A and E) concentrations. However, no significant changes in the number of granulocytes, monocytes or NK cells were observed. As a consequence, overall, our results suggest that high anxiety led to a decrease in the efficiency of the immune system of anxious mice. On the other hand, our findings also showed that restraint stress (acute and subacute) produced the same immunological profile as high anxiety in mice. This was independent of the animals' anxiety status. At the same time, we observed that restraint stress produced significant increases in the levels of granulocytes and monocytes. Conclusions: High anxiety and restraint stress exerted adverse effects on cellular and humoral immunity in mice. While the effect of restraint stress was independent of the anxiety levels in mice, this stress led to an aggravation of the immune response from the high degree of anxiety. Therefore, anxious subjects could be more vulnerable to infections and inflammation, particularly when they are exposed to stressful situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety, mice
  • Immunity, cellular
  • Immunity, humoral
  • Restraint stress


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