Social Stress Causes Dormant Herpes Virus To Resurface In Mice

in the body.

"The assault of daily stresses throws our bodies into somewhat of a disarray, so our bodies respond with physiologic adaptations in attempts to restore their normal state," Padgett said.

Glaser and his colleagues looked at the levels of one stress hormone in particular -- corticosterone. Corticosterone levels almost doubled in the socially reorganized mice as compared to controls.

The social stress most affected dominant mice, who faced the most conflict in their new social situation. Results showed 85 percent of the dominant mice had herpes reactivation, compared to 30 percent of the subordinate mice.

"The dominant mice were much more likely to have a higher rate of virus reactivation," Sheridan said. The herpes virus hibernates inside the body's cells and remains dormant there until it gets a signal from the body. In this case, social stress caused the virus to reactivate.

"Our long-term goal is to develop a therapeutic strategy to prevent herpes virus activation," Padgett said.

Other members of the research team were Julianne Dorne and Jessica Candelora, both of Ohio State's medical microbiology and immunology department, and Gary Berntson, professor of psychology at Ohio State.

The research was supported by grants from the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, the National Institute of Mental Health a

Contact: Ronald Glaser
(614) 292-5526
Ohio State University

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