Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism Behind Mind-body Connection Discovered

Date:
July 16, 2008
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
New research explains how chronic emotional stress ages the immune system. Immune cells end in protective caps called telomeres that are shorter in the elderly -- and in persons suffering chronic stress. A new study suggests that the hormone cortisol is the culprit behind telomeres' early aging in stressed-out people and offers a potential drug target for protecting the immune system against the damage caused by long-term stress.

Immune cells (stained blue) end in protective caps called telomeres (stained yellow) that are shorter in the elderly -- and in persons suffering chronic stress. A new UCLA study suggests cortisol is the culprit behind premature aging of the immune system in stressed-out people.
Credit: UCLA/Effros lab

Every cell contains a tiny clock called a telomere, which shortens each time the cell divides. Short telomeres are linked to a range of human diseases, including HIV, osteoporosis, heart disease and aging. Previous studies show that an enzyme within the cell, called telomerase, keeps immune cells young by preserving their telomere length and ability to continue dividing.

UCLA scientists found that the stress hormone cortisol suppresses immune cells' ability to activate their telomerase. This may explain why the cells of persons under chronic stress have shorter telomeres.

The study reveals how stress makes people more susceptible to illness. The findings also suggest a potential drug target for preventing damage to the immune systems of persons who are under long-term stress, such as caregivers to chronically ill family members, as well as astronauts, soldiers, air traffic controllers and people who drive long daily commutes.

Rita Effros is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and a member of the Jonsson Cancer Center, Molecular Biology Institute and UCLA AIDS Institute.

"When the body is under stress, it boosts production of cortisol to support a "fight or flight" response," explains Effros. "If the hormone remains elevated in the bloodstream for long periods of time, though, it wears down the immune system. We are testing therapeutic ways of enhancing telomerase levels to help the immune system ward off cortisol's effect. If we're successful, one day a pill may exist to strengthen the immune system's ability to weather chronic emotional stress."

The research was published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the Geron Corp. and TA Therapeutics, Ltd.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Mechanism Behind Mind-body Connection Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715152325.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2008, July 16). Mechanism Behind Mind-body Connection Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715152325.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Mechanism Behind Mind-body Connection Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715152325.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama 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.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

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