Emotional stress induced by parachute jumping enhances blood nerve growth factor levels and the distribution of nerve growth factor receptors in lymphocytes

L. Aloe, L. Bracci-Laudiero, E. Alleva, A. Lambiase, A. Micera, P. Tirassa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined the plasma nerve growth factor (NGF) level and the distribution of NGF receptors in peripheral lymphocytes of young soldiers (mean age, 20-24 yr) experiencing the thrill of a novice about to make their first parachute jumps. Blood was collected from soldiers who knew they were selected to jump (n = 26), as well as from soldiers who knew they were not selected (n = 17, controls). The former group was sampled the evening before the jump and 20 min after landing. Compared with controls, NGF levels increased 84% in prejump and 107% in postjump sampling. Our studies also showed that the increase of NGF levels preceded the increase of plasma cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. No changes in the baseline levels of circulating interleukin 1β or tumor necrosis factor were found, suggesting that the increased levels of NGF were not correlated with change in these cytokines. Moreover, immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that parachuting stress enhances the distribution of low-affinity p75(LNGFR) and high-affinity p140(trk) A NGF receptors in circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These observations suggest that the release of NGF might be involved in the activation of cells of the immune system and is most probably associated with homeostatic adaptive mechanisms, as previously shown for stressed rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10440-10444
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume91
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 1994

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • hormones
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

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