Stability of individual differences in cellular immune responses to two different laboratory tasks

  • Marsland A
  • Henderson B
  • Chambers W
 et al. 
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To explore the stability of immune reactivity across laboratory tasks, we correlated enumerative and functional lymphocyte responses to a speech task and a mental arithmetic task, delivered on the same occasion of testing in 31 healthy undergraduates. Both tasks were associated with an increase in peripheral CD8+ and CD56+ cell populations, and a decrease in proliferative response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and ratio of CD4:CD8 cells. Intertask correlations were significant for the magnitude of change in proliferative responses at two different concentrations of PHA, r = 0.76, p < .0001 and r = 0.46, p < .05, and in numbers of circulating CD56+ cells, r = 0.46, p < .005. Concomitant heart rate and systolic blood pressure responses also correlated significantly over the two experimental tasks (heart rate: r = 0.52 and systolic blood pressure: r = 0.58. ps < .0005). These data provide initial evidence that interindividual variability of some cellular immune responses is moderately reproducible across different stimulus conditions, providing further evidence that it may denote a stable individual difference.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acute psychological stressors
  • Cellular immune reactivity
  • Individual difference
  • Intertask reliability
  • Mental arithmetic task
  • Speech task

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