If there’s at least one thing we should all stop to do today, it’s taking a moment to destress. New research finds that when you (or your pet) get overwhelmed, stress hormones activate and make the body vulnerable to bacterial infections.
Stress hormones can leave a way for bacteria to infect cells by opting to bind with a bacterial protein called CheW rather than their usual receptors. Stress activates a group of chemicals in the brain, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Prior work has shown a lower defense against bacterial infections when the body is under stress, but it remained unknown why this happened.
“We therefore suspected that some bacteria use such hormones as signals to recognize the eukaryotic host environment,” says Kirsten Jung, a professor of microbiology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany and study in a university release.
The team’s experiment focused on how bacteria recognized stress hormones and which receptors triggered the process to make the body susceptible to infection. Read more…