Sex differences in the interleukin-6 response to acute psychological stress

Kathryn Edwards, Victoria Burns, Christopher Ring, Douglas Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune regulator that helps coordinate the inflammatory response, may mediate inflammatory disease exacerbation associated with stress. Twenty men and twenty women completed a single session, comprising baseline (20 min), mental arithmetic task (8 min), and recovery (60 min). Blood samples, taken at baseline, immediately after the task, and at +30 and +60 min recovery were analysed for plasma IL-6. Overall, IL-6 increased linearly from baseline to +60 min recovery, and a sex difference was found in the IL-6 response, with men peaking earlier than women. These findings confirm a small delayed IL-6 increase after acute laboratory stress, and reveal sex differences in the profile of the IL-6 response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-239
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006


  • sex differences
  • interleukin-6
  • acute stress


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