"Sickness Behavior" and Cytokines: Exploring the Link

Kristen Tobias, Fordham University


According to Karatsoreos and McEwen (2011), allostasis has been defined as “biological responses that promote adaptation, using systemic mediators (sympathetic, parasympathetic activity, cortisol, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and metabolic hormones) forming a non-linear network in which each mediator regulates other mediators" (p. 576). Allostais is continuously threatened by psychological and physiological stress and normal stress responses are susceptible to dysregulation that can contribute to pathophysiology (Karatsoreos & McEwen, 2011). The concept of stress adversely influencing the body has been scientifically demonstrated since the 1930s, when Han Selye made the serendipitous observation that mice subjected to chronic trauma developed peptic ulcers, adrenal gland enlargement, and immune tissue atrophy (Sapolsky, 1994). Since that time, the fields of health psychology, stress physiology, and others have burgeoned. Recent evidence suggests that depression represents a failure to return to a biologically adaptive state after psychological or physical distress (Karatsoreos & McEwen, 2011).

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Recommended Citation

Tobias, Kristen, ""Sickness Behavior" and Cytokines: Exploring the Link" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13851543.