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ECPB 2018, 83(3): 5–17
Research articles

Sexual Dimorphism of the Neuroendocrine-Immune Complex and its Reactions to Chronic Stress in Rats


Introduction. If the sexual differences in endocrine parameters are well understood, then research of immune parameters in this aspect remains relevant.

Materials and methods. The experiment was performed on 50 males and 60 females of the Wistar line rats. Parameters of HRV, blood and daily urine levels of hormones and electrolytes as well as parameters of leukocytogram, immunocytogram, thymocytogram and splenocytogram were determined.

Results. It was found that the most significant sexual differences were observed in the morpho-functional parameters of the adrenal glands. Intact females had the highest androgenic, glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid activity in particular, as well as parathyrin and calcitonin activity. The HRV-markers of sympathetic and vagal tones were not significantly different. In- stead, the plasma level of triiodothyronine in females was 85 % of males. Among the recorded immune indices, 11 of them were significantly higher in females. First of all, it was the content in the thymocytogram of lymphocytes and lymphoblasts, in the immunocytogram of blood natural killers and B-lymphocytes as well as fibroblasts, macrophages and microphages in splenocyto- gram. Instead, the 10 indicators of immunity in females were significantly lower. This was, first of all, the activity of phagocytosis of microphages and macrophages. The discrepancies between neuroendocrine-immune complexes of intact and stressed rats of both sexes were exhaustively explained by 38 parameters including 6 of thymus, 6 of spleen, 13 of blood and 13 of neuroen- docrine ones. The information contained in these metrics can be condensed in three recognition roots. Intact and stressed males were clearly delimited along the axis of the second root which reflected the post-stress decrease in the phagocytic activity of monocytes in the blood and the content of basophils and segmental neutrophils in it, on the one hand and the increase in the mass of thymus and the content of Hassall's cells in it, and the increase of the sympathetic tone and corticosterone - on the other hand. Post-stress changes of the listed parameters in general were insignificant in females. Significant differences between intact and stressed females were reflected along the third root axis which contains the information on stress induced lowering levels of parathyrin and thyroxin, the intensity of Staph aureus phagocytosis by microphages and bactericidal capacity of blood macrophages, its content of eosinophils as well as the mass of the spleen. Instead, post-stress changes in the listed parameters were generally insignificant in males.

Conclusions. The obtained data indicate the need to take into account the sexual diffe- rences in the reactions of the neuroendocrine-immune complex to stress when testing the stress limiting means.

Keywords: sexual difference, neuroendocrine-immune complex, stress, immunological parameters, immunogram, neuroendocrine indices

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