Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Jacqueline Brehe

Second Advisor

Grant Hokit

Third Advisor

Joan Stottlemyer

Abstract

Research has shown that there are interactions between the stress response and the immune system through the glucocorticoids. It has also been documented that estrogen and progesterone may have immunomodulatory effects and that the stress response may be modulated by the estrous cycle and the cyclic hormone levels associated with it. However, the connections between the stress response, the immune system, and the estrous cycle are not well understood. I examined changes in vaginal cytology and utilized simple leukocyte differential counts to determine if changes in the stress response correspond to the stages of the estrous cycle in Mus musculus. My results indicate that the stress treatment became significantly less effective throughout the experiment due to a habituation effect. Therefore, no definitive conclusions regarding the estrous cycle and the immune system could be made.

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