Aim: To determine whether 7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone (7-oxo-DHEA) can reverse the hypoimmunity in BALB/c mice exposed to chronic mild stress.
Methods: A chronic mild stress animal model was established by subjecting BALB/c mice to a stressful regimen arranged in an unpredicted manner for 4 consecutive weeks. Immunological function alternations under chronic mild stress were assessed by lymphocytes proliferative response to mitogens and NK cell lysis activity test.
Results: The studies showed the correlation between the state of depression and abnormalities in the immune response, such as a decrease of T lymphocytes proliferative response to Con A and suppression of cytotoxic of NK cell. Meanwhile, significant decrease of T3 and T4 levels was also observed. When stressed mice were daily given 7-oxo-DHEA 15 mg.kg-1, lymphocyte proliferative response and the NK cell activity were significantly enhanced and the decreased levels of T3 and T4 were restored in the stressed mice.
Conclusion: 7-oxo-DHEA can improve the depressive symptoms and hypoimmunity of BALB/c mice induced by chronic mild stress as its parent DHEA.