Mechanisms of Stress-Dependent Neuroinflammation and Their Implications for Understanding Consequences of Alcohol Exposure

  • Terrence Deak
  • Anny Okrainets
  • Tamara L. Doremus-Fitzwater


There is a rich history of studies examining the impact of acute and chronic stress challenges—and the hormonal responses they evoke—on immunological function. Such studies generally fall within the realm of stress-induced immunomodulation and involve exposure of test subjects to various stress challenges in some combination with exposure to an antigen (e.g., lipopolysaccharide; LPS), a replicating pathogen (bacteria, viruses, etc.), or direct wound infliction. The net outcome in these types of studies is that the influence of the stressful experience on recovery from infection ultimately depends upon a variety of factors, including the timing of stress exposure relative to antigen/pathogen infection, specific features/parameters of the stress challenge, and the nature of the infection to which the organism has been exposed. In a now classic series of experiments, for example, Dhabhar and McEwen [1] demonstrated that exposure to acute stress facilitated some aspects of immune function, while chronic stress suppressed these same responses. Indeed, the ability of acute stress to prime certain features of the immune response and facilitate recovery from immune challenge is now well precedented [2–9]. Furthermore, it seems that stress procedures tend to increase and/or accelerate immune cell activity and cytokine expression even in the absence of antigen/pathogen exposure, therefore likely driving some of these effects. It is these more subtle, difficult to detect changes in cytokines and inflammation—evoked by the stress challenge itself—that will first be discussed in this chapter.


Alcohol Exposure Ethanol Exposure Immune Challenge Sickness Behavior Acute Ethanol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Supported by NIH grant number R21AA016305-01 to T.D., the Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center (DEARC; P50AA017823), National Science Foundation (NSF grant #0822129), and the Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience at Binghamton University. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this chapter are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the above stated funding agencies. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terrence Deak
    • 1
  • Anny Okrainets
    • 1
  • Tamara L. Doremus-Fitzwater
    • 1
  1. 1.Behavioral Neuroscience Program, Department of PsychologyBinghamton University, State University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

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