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Resting parasympathetic nervous system activity is associated with greater antiviral gene expression

Rahal, Danny and Tashjian, Sarah M. and Karan, Maira and Eisenberger, Naomi and Galván, Adriana and Fuligni, Andrew J. and Hastings, Paul D. and Cole, Steve W. (2021) Resting parasympathetic nervous system activity is associated with greater antiviral gene expression. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 98 . pp. 310-316. ISSN 0889-1591. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2021.08.229.

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Parasympathetic nervous system activity can downregulate inflammation, but it remains unclear how parasympathetic nervous system activity relates to antiviral activity. The present study examined associations between parasympathetic nervous system activity and cellular antiviral gene regulation in 90 adolescents (M_(age) = 16.28, SD = 0.73; 51.1% female) who provided blood samples and measures of cardiac respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), twice, five weeks apart. Using a multilevel analytic framework, we found that higher RSA (an indicator of higher parasympathetic nervous system activity)—both at rest and during paced breathing—was associated with higher expression of Type I interferon (IFN) response genes in circulating leukocytes, even after adjusting for demographic and biological covariates. RSA was not associated with a parallel measure of inflammatory gene expression. These results identify a previously unrecognized immunoregulatory aspect of autonomic nervous system function and highlight a potential biological pathway by which parasympathetic nervous system activity may relate to health.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Rahal, Danny0000-0001-9302-4295
Tashjian, Sarah M.0000-0002-0946-6662
Karan, Maira0000-0001-9173-8315
Galván, Adriana0000-0001-6907-4217
Fuligni, Andrew J.0000-0003-3622-8499
Cole, Steve W.0000-0002-7168-8039
Additional Information:© 2021 Elsevier. Received 17 May 2021, Revised 28 July 2021, Accepted 21 August 2021, Available online 27 August 2021. This work was supported by a grant from Hope Lab to A.J.F. and a consortium seed grant to D.R., S.M.T., A.J.F, and P.D.H. Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health grant to D.R. (1 F31 DA051181-01A1) and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to S.M.T. (2016207607). The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship1 F31 DA051181-01A1
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship2016207607
Subject Keywords:Antiviral gene expression; Type I interferon (IFN) expression; Parasympathetic nervous system; Autonomic nervous system
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210908-171121903
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Danny Rahal, Sarah M. Tashjian, Maira Karan, Naomi Eisenberger, Adriana Galván, Andrew J. Fuligni, Paul D. Hastings, Steve W. Cole, Resting parasympathetic nervous system activity is associated with greater antiviral gene expression, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 98, 2021, Pages 310-316, ISSN 0889-1591,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110760
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Sep 2021 22:40
Last Modified:13 Sep 2021 23:18

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