Acute psychological stress increases paracellular permeability and modulates immune activity in rectal mucosa of healthy volunteers
Acute psychological stress increases paracellular permeability and modulates immune activity in rectal mucosa of healthy volunteers, 2023 (1.096Mb)
Background Psychological stress and increased permeability are implicated as contributing factors in the initiation and worsening of gastrointestinal diseases. A link between stress and intestinal permeability has been shown in animal models as well as in human small intestine, but stress effects on the human colorectal mucosal barrier has not been reported. Objective To investigate the potential effects of acute psychological stress on colorectal mucosal barrier function and to explore stress-induced molecular events in the rectal mucosa under healthy conditions. Methods Endoscopic biopsies were taken from the rectosigmoid region of healthy volunteers, who had been subjected to dichotomous listening stress and after a control session, respectively. Paracellular and transcellular permeability were assessed in modified Ussing chambers. RNA expression (microarray technology confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction) and biological pathway analysis were used to investigate the local mucosal response to acute stress. Results Dichotomous listening stress induced a subjective and objective stress response, and significantly increased paracellular but not transcellular permeability. We also identified a stress-induced reduction in RNA expression of genes related to immune cell activation and maturation (CR2, CD20, TCLA1, BANK1, CD22, FDCSP), signaling molecules of homing of immune cells to the gut (chemokines: CCL21, CXCL13, and CCL19, and receptors: CCR7, CXCR5), and innate immunity (DUOX2). Eight of the 10 top down-regulated genes are directly involved in B cell activation, signaling and migration. The systemic stress response correlated positively with paracellular permeability and negatively with DUOX2 expression. Conclusion Dichotomous listening stress increases paracellular permeability and modulates immune cell activity in the rectal mucosa. Further studies are warranted to identify the primary mechanisms of stress-mediated reduction of mucosal defensive activity and barrier dysfunction, and their potential implications for gastrointestinal disorders.
Intestinal permeability; Mucosal immunity; Psychological stress
Gerdin L, González-Castro AM, Ericson AC, Persborn M, Santos J, Walter SA, et al. Acute psychological stress increases paracellular permeability and modulates immune activity in rectal mucosa of healthy volunteers. United European Gastroenterol J. 2023 Feb;11(1):31–41.
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