Effects of repeated social stress on leukocyte distribution in bone marrow, peripheral blood and spleen

J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Mar;148(1-2):106-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2003.11.011.


Leukocyte trafficking between the various body compartments has an important surveillance function that ensures the detection of antigen and enables the immune system to initiate a rapid and effective response. Repeated social defeat of group-housed male mice induced by daily, acute encounters with an aggressive conspecific substantially altered leukocyte trafficking and led to a gradual redistribution of immune cells in bone marrow, peripheral blood and spleen. Recurrent exposure to the stressor over a period of 2, 4 or 6 consecutive days was associated with cell mobilization and increased myelopoiesis in the bone marrow that was paralleled by an accumulation of neutrophils and monocytes in circulation and spleen. Substantial depletion of B cells in bone marrow and blood was associated with an increase in splenic B cells indicating a redirection of this cell type to the spleen. In contrast, T cells were markedly reduced in these immune compartments. The recruitment of CD11b+ leukocytes (i.e., monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils) from the bone marrow to the spleen might play a critical role in the development of functional glucocorticoid resistance in the murine spleen that was reported in context with repeated social defeat.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Erythrocytes / physiology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Leukocytes / pathology*
  • Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monocytes / physiology
  • Social Behavior
  • Spleen / pathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology
  • Stress, Psychological / pathology*
  • Time Factors