, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 109-118,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 19 Sep 2009

Psychoneuroimmunology: application to ocular diseases


Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a relatively new discipline within the field of neuroscience which researches the relationship between emotional states, the central and peripheral nervous systems, and the endocrine and immune systems. Negative psychological states, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, may alter immune system regulation and modulation of peripheral cytokines. A plethora of PNI studies have shown that increased psychological stress and depression are associated with an alteration of immune functioning and worsened health outcomes for many conditions. To date, application of PNI methodology has not been reported for ocular diseases. This article provides an historical perspective on the origins of the rift between the emotional and spiritual from physical aspects of disease. A review of how stress is mediated through sympathetic adrenomedullary and hypothalamic pituitary axis activation with shifts in immunity is provided. The literature which supports spirituality in healing is presented. Finally, ocular diseases which would be most amenable to a PNI approach are discussed.

The online version of the original article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12177-009-9028-4
NIH center grant P30-EY014801, unrestricted grant to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute from Research to Prevent Blindness.