Changes in Immune Activities by Heat Stress



The immune system, reacting to bacterial and viral infections, affects nervous and endocrine systems, and the nerves and endocrine systems, by responding to various stressors, then affect both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses. Acute thermal stress decreases the number of helper T cells and increases the number of NK cells. The concentration of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in saliva is increased by acute thermal stress via α-adrenoceptor activation. The phagocytotic activity of lung macrophages is suppressed by chronic heat stress, indicating the effects of heat on macrophages and T cells. The number and activity of splenic NK cells are decreased by chronic thermal stress. The delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response mediated by type 1 helper T cells (Th1) is reduced by thermal stress continuing for more than 2 weeks. The primary and secondary immune responses are both inhibited by chronic heat, suggesting changes in helper T-cell activities and B-cell proliferation. Chronic heat exposure causes a decrease in the number of Thl and an increase in the number of type 2 helper T cells (Th2), indicating changes in combinations of different cytokines released by Thl and Th2. In aged animals, changes in immune activities caused by thermal stress are not obvious; however, an increase in the ratio of the number of Th2 to that of Th1 (Th2/Th1) is observed, as is the case for chronic heat exposure. An imbalance between Thl and Th2 may cause suppression of adequate immune activity accompanying concomitant changes in cytokine release.


Heat stress Immune activities Aging sIgA T cells 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yamanashi Institute of Environmental SciencesFujiyoshida, YamanashiJapan

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