Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social Stress Causes Dormant Herpes Virus To Resurface In Mice

August 6, 1998
Ohio State University
New research in mice shows that changes in social interactions can stimulate a dormant herpes virus to resurface.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- New research in mice shows that changes in social interactions can stimulate a dormant herpes virus to resurface.

Related Articles

In a series of experiments, 40 percent of mice with latent herpes had their virus reactivated when their social structure was reorganized, leading to conflicts among the mice.

The herpes virus was most prevalent in the dominant mice, who were involved in the most aggressive social interactions.

While the study may have some implications for human health, it also provides researchers with a good animal model to study the relationship between stress and immunity.

“No animal model existed to study and really understand the mechanisms of how the virus works,” said Ronald Glaser, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at Ohio State University. “Now that we have the model, we can start analyzing and studying the mechanisms of different kinds of stress and how it can affect virus latency.”

This research supports the idea that stressful life events, such as changes in leadership at the workplace, can significantly suppress the immune system and increase the incidence of infectious diseases.

“When a new boss comes in, people worry if their position will be the same, if the order of dominance will change,” Glaser said. “We think that’s what is going on when we socially reorganize these mice.”

The research, published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that stress caused by social reorganization triggered a dormant herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection. HSV-1 causes cold sores around the mouth and on the face in humans and genital disease.

Glaser conducted the study with David Padgett, assistant professor of oral biology, and John Sheridan, professor of oral biology and preventive medicine. Both are with Ohio State.

The model, which used male mice, allowed the researchers to study how a body physically interprets certain stressors.

The researchers infected mice with HSV-1 and subjected the animals to two stressful situations. One situation involved restraining the animals for portions of eight days. The other reorganized the social hierarchy of the mice by placing a dominant mouse in a new cage.

Glaser said he was surprised with the findings. “Only one of the two stressors, social reorganization, resulted in a significant reactivation of the herpes virus,” he said. While 40 percent of mice showed herpes reactivation when faced with social stress, only 8 percent of the mice who were restrained were similarly reactivated.

Although unsure why the social reorganization caused full-blown herpes, the researchers speculate that exposure to different kinds of stress causes different physiological changes 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 and the MacArthur Foundation Mind-Body Network.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Social Stress Causes Dormant Herpes Virus To Resurface In Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806085130.htm>.
Ohio State University. (1998, August 6). Social Stress Causes Dormant Herpes Virus To Resurface In Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806085130.htm
Ohio State University. "Social Stress Causes Dormant Herpes Virus To Resurface In Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806085130.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins