, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 51-59
Date: 24 Sep 2010

Substance P Enhances Th17 Phenotype in Individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: an Event Resistant to Glucocorticoid Inhibition

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Our objective was to evaluate the effect of stress-related dose of substance P (SP) on the in vitro proliferation and cytokine production in polyclonally activated T cells from healthy individuals or individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Our results demonstrated that cell cultures from GAD group proliferated less following T cell activation, as compared with control group. The addition of SP enhanced, while the glucocorticoid (GC) reduced, the proliferative response in activated cell cultures from healthy but not from GAD individuals. The cytokine profile in GAD individuals revealed Th1 and Th2 deficiencies were associated with dominate Th17 phenotype which was enhanced by SP. Differently from control, the production of Th17 cytokines in GAD individuals was not affected by GC. In conclusion, our results show that complex T cell functional dysregulation in GAD individuals is significantly amplified by SP. These immune abnormalities can have impact in increasing the susceptibility to infectious diseases and inflammatory/autoimmune disorders in anxious individuals.

This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa Carlos Chagas Filho (FAPERJ).