Hamster Immune Responses in Infectious and Oncologic Diseases

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The results showed that hamsters living in winter-like conditions have higher baseline levels of these immune cells than do hamsters living in summer-like daylight conditions.

Some hamsters were put in restraints that increased stress in the animals but did not harm them. An antigen -- a substance that provokes an immune response -- was then applied to their skin to determine the vigor of the inflammatory immune reaction. Results showed that immune cells rushed out of the bloodstream, presumably to the site where the antigen was placed on the skin.


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However, among hamsters living in shorter-day conditions, this immune reaction was quicker and stronger than for those experiencing the longer days. For example, Bilbo said that after just 10 minutes of restraint stress, the short-day hamsters showed a 30 percent decrease in the levels of some immune cells in the bloodstream.

Hamster Immune Responses in Infectious and Oncologic Diseases

Previous research by Dhabhar has indicated that immune cells do not die due to the stress, but leave the bloodstream to rush to areas such as the skin where the antigen is placed. For the long-day hamsters, there was no significant decrease in blood levels of immune cells after 10 minutes, although differences were found after two hours. The immune system reacts more strongly to injuries or infections during winter.

The Cellular Immune Response

The ideal stress response is one where the individual very rapidly mounts a physiological response during stress and then it very rapidly shuts it down when the stress is over. In the earlier study, they found Siberian hamsters had shorter reactions to immune challenges during winter-like daylight conditions than they did in the summer-like conditions. For example, the study found that fevers didn't last as long in winter as they did during the summer. These new results suggest the immune response may be shorter in the winter because it is also stronger.

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Hamster Immune Responses in Infectious and Oncologic Diseases | SpringerLink

Experimental filariasis in the Syrian hamster; immunological aspects of complex host-parasite interactions. Weiss , Marcel Tanner. Viral Oncology, ed. Tevethia , S.

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