Research Topic

Stress and Immunity

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While changes in the environment are perceived as a stress on the body, over time, the body adapts to the changing environment and adjusts accordingly. Stress can be largely divided into two categories; physicochemical stress and psychological stress. Physicochemical stress comprises environmental factors in ...

While changes in the environment are perceived as a stress on the body, over time, the body adapts to the changing environment and adjusts accordingly. Stress can be largely divided into two categories; physicochemical stress and psychological stress. Physicochemical stress comprises environmental factors in the form of food/nutrition, noise, pollution, metabolic disorder, infection, and inflammation. Stress also exerts a great influence on the functions of our immune system: if the immune system is somehow compromised and cannot properly cope with physicochemical stresses, or if the stress exceeds the regular adaptability of the immune system, this leads to diseased states that may develop into fatal conditions.

On the other hand, the effect of psychological stress on the immune system is generally well known. Long-term and chronic stress has the body's cortisol and corticosteroid concentrations kept high continuously, which develops a resistance to cortisol accompanied by weakened anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system, leading to chronic infection, chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases or cancers as well as other physiological disorders. Chronic stress also inhibits the cross talk of immune cells and signaling networks.

This Research Topic covers a broad range of research areas related to stress and immune disorders. Clinical researchers and basic scientists working on stress and immunity are encouraged to participate. We classify stresses into three categories as follows:

1) Physicochemical stress: genotoxic stress, thermal stress (burn, heat & cold), pollution and noise, hypoxic stress, light stress;
2) Psychological stress: chronic long-term stress, depression, hormonal changes, stress hormone (cortisol, corticosteroid) and immunity;
3) Nutrition: starvation, malnutrition, food changes and commensal microbiota;

This Research Topic covers the effect of each of these three stress signals on immune cells, including short/long-term immune responses, in-depth mechanisms, and stress and immune-related diseases (pathogenesis). In addition, studies on how immune imbalance can be resolved when stress is prolonged and how to adapt to the environment to produce immune homeostasis will also be covered in this Research Topic.


Keywords: Stress, immuity, physiological, psychological, nutrition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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