Behaviorally conditioned immunosuppression

Psychosom Med. Jul-Aug 1975;37(4):333-40. doi: 10.1097/00006842-197507000-00007.


An illness-induced taste aversion was conditioned in rats by pairing saccharin with cyclophosphamide, an immunosuppressive agent. Three days after conditioning, all animals were injected with sheep erythrocytes. Hemagglutinating antibody titers measured 6 days after antigen administration were high in placebo-treated rats. High titers were also observed in nonconditioned animals and in conditioned animals that were nor subsequently exposed to saccharin. No agglutinating antibody was detected in conditioned animals treated with cyclophosphamide at the time of antigen administration. Conditioned animals exposed to saccharin at the time of or following the injection of antigen were significantly immunosuppressed. An illness-induced taste aversion was also conditioned using LiCl, a nonimmunosuppressive agent. In this instance, however, there was no attenuation of hemagglutinating antibody titers in response to injection with antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Association
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / pharmacology
  • Erythrocytes
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Immunosuppression*
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Lithium / pharmacology
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Placebos
  • Rats
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Sheep / immunology
  • Taste*
  • Time Factors


  • Placebos
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Lithium
  • Saccharin