The effects of chronic stress on thymus innervation in the adult rat
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Various stressors induce changes in the immune system. However, it has not yet been analyzed how stressors affect thymus innervation. To examine whether chronic stress alters the morphology of the thymus by changing the nerve components of the thymus, adult mate rats, 9-weeks old, were exposed to forced swimming during 21 successive days. The animals were sacrificed by decapitation after the last session and their thymuses were used for analysis of (i) the thymus compartments, (ii) distribution patterns of monoamine-containing nerve profiles and (iii) distribution patterns of acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-containing nerve profiles. Our results show that chronic stress in rats reduces the volume of both thymus cortex and medulla, numbers of thymocytes in the deep cortex and medulla and the density of fluorescent nerve profiles, whereas it increases density of fluorescent cells. The distribution patterns of nerve profiles containing monoamine and AChE were not affected. These changes indic...ate that chronic stress affects thymus development and T cell maturation by altering the sympathetic nerve component. (c) 2004 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Keywords:rat / thymus / chronic stress / morphometry / noradrenergic nerve fibers / AChE-positive nerve fibers
Source:Acta Histochemica, 2005, 106, 6, 449-458
- Elsevier Gmbh, Munich