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Acute Psychological Stress and Exercise and Changes in Peripheral Leukocyte Adhesion Molecule Expression and Density

Goebel, Marion U. MSc; Mills, and Paul J. PhD

Original Articles

Objective This study e-amined the effects of acute psychological stress and e-haustive e-ercise on the e-pression and density of adhesion molecules (L-selectin, lymphocyte function antigen-1 [LFA-1], and intracellular adhesion molecule-1 [ICAM-1]) on monocytes, granulocytes, and lymphocytes.

Methods Forty-five healthy volunteers performed a 15-minute public speaking task and a 15- to 18-minute bicycle ergometer challenge.

Results In general, both the e-ercise and speaking tasks led to increases in the number of circulating leukocytes and lymphocyte subsets. The density of L-selectin (CD62L) on mi-ed lymphocytes and T lymphocytes was decreased in response to e-ercise (p values < .001). Both stressors led to an increased density of LFA-1 (CD11a) on mixed lymphocytes (p values < .01), whereas CD11a density on monocytes and granulocytes remained unchanged. ICAM-1 (CD54) density was unaffected, but the number of lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes expressing CD54 increased in the circulation on both stressors.

Conclusions The data indicate that both psychological stress and e-ercise have significant effects on cellular e-pression of adhesion molecules on circulating leukocytes. Given the crucial role that adhesion molecules on circulating cells play in inflammation and disease, these findings may have clinical relevance in sympathetic nervous system–induced immune activation.

From the Department of Psychiatry (M.U.G, P.J.M.), University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA; and the Department of Medical Psychology (M.U.G.), University of Essen, Essen, Germany.

Address reprint requests to: Marion U. Goebel, MSc, Department of Medical Psychology, University of Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany. Email:

Received June 21, 1999; revision received March 10, 2000.

Copyright © 2000 by American Psychosomatic Society
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