Science Colloquium: Chronic Social Stress, Inflammation and Anxiety

Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 11:45am to 12:30pm

Location: Zoom (Register at

Presented by:
John F. Sheridan, PhD, Professor, Division of Biosciences, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry
Associate Director, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, OSU Wexner Medical Center

Abstract: In humans, psychological stress is associated with an increased prevalence of mental health complications including anxiety and depression. While stress significantly influences health and quality of life, the mechanisms involved are not completely understood. Studies of social stress in a pre-clinical rodent model show that there is a critical convergence of neuronal, central inflammatory, and peripheral immune pathways leading to prolonged anxiety, social avoidance, and cognitive impairment. Another key component of social stress is the promotion of long lasting state of “stress-sensitization.” We hypothesize that repeated social defeat leads to the establishment of sensitization in three distinct cellular compartments: neurons, microglia and splenic monocytes and that recurring neurobehavioral deficits are caused by integration of these sensitized compartments.

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