Journal article

Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in mice selected for left- or right-handedness

Asymmetry in brain modulation of the immune system has been previously described. In mice, paw preference has been shown to be associated with immune reactivity but the mechanisms involved in such an association are not yet known. The autonomic nervous system and the neuroendocrine system are considered as major candidates for neural influences on the immune system. In the present study, the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis of adult female mice selected for paw preference (left-handers vs. right-handers) was assessed by measuring both adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone plasma levels, as well as the in vitro responses of hypothalamus and adrenocortical cells to various hormone releasing stimuli. The results reported here showed no difference in the activity of the HPA axis between left- and right-handed mice, suggesting that this neuroendocrine axis is not implicated in the association between functional brain asymmetry and immune reactivity. However, our results do not exclude the possibility that the HPA axis could play a role in such an association under other circumstances, such as during development or stressful situations.


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