Physiological and psychological stressors impact the immune system, resulting in the dysregulation
of normal immune homeostasis. Such dysregulation has a particular impact upon individuals who are
already debilitated or are compromised by medical intervention. These individuals are especially
susceptible to invasive agents either of exogenous or endogenous origin. It is the focus of this
laboratory to understand the impact of these stressors upon the immune system, to determine the
molecular basis by which immune dysregulation results from these stressors, and to explore methods
by which to return the immune system to normal homeostasis.
Our approach is an integrative one in which interactions among the nervous, endocrine, and immune
systems are analyzed within the framework of psychoneuroimmunology. Research is focused on the
physiological impact on the immune system of radiation and surgery for breast cancer, surgery for
radical prostatectomy and for herniated disk repair, as well as for patients with multiple sclerosis. The
impact of pain and/or mood disturbance are analyzed for their psychological effect on immune function.
We have identified specific and unique effects of these stressors on cytokine expression, immune cell
targeting, and upon the trafficking and release of immune effector cell populations. These identified
effects are at the cellular level and differ for each of these physiological and psychological stressors.
It is our ultimate goal to delineate the molecular basis for these differences and to devise the means
by which to counteract them at both the cellular and molecular level. With this in mind, our current focus is upon the influence of epigenetic modifications both those which influence histone post translational modifications and those that influence DNA methylation.
Mathews HL, Janusek LW. Epigenetics and psychoneuroimmunology: Mechanisms and models. Brain Behav Immun. Jan;25(1): 25-39, 2011 PMCID:PMC2991515.
Krukowski K, Eddy J, Kosik KL, Konley T, Janusek LW, Mathews HL. Glucocorticoid dysregulation of natural killer cell function through epigenetic modification. Brain Behav Immun. Feb;25(2):239-49, 2011 PMCID: PMC2989339.
Mathews HL, Konley T, Kosik KL, Krukowski K, Eddy J, Albuquerque K, Janusek LW. Epigenetic patterns associated with the immune dysregulation that accompanies psychosocial distress. Brain Behav Immun25(5):830-9, 2011 PMCID: PMC3079772.
Sorenson M, Janusek L, Mathews H. Psychological Stress and Cytokine Production in Multiple Sclerosis: Correlation With Disease Symptomatology. Biol Res Nurs. 2011 Nov 14. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22084401
Kristin Bush, K, Krukowski, K, Eddy, J, Janusek, L, Mathews, HL. Glucocorticoid receptor mediated suppression of natural killer cell activity: Identification of associated deacetylase and corepressor molecules. Cell. Immunol. 275:80-9, 2012 PMCID:PMC3348463.
Karen L. Saban, Herbert L. Mathews, Fred B. Bryant, Timothy E. O'Brien and Linda Witek Janusek. Depressive Symptoms and Diurnal Salivary Cortisol Patterns Among Female Caregivers of StrokeSurvivors. Biol Res Nurs.Biol Res Nurs. 2012 Oct;14(4):396-404.
Sibille KT, Witek-Janusek L, Mathews HL, Fillingim RB. Telomeres and epigenetics: Potential relevance to chronic pain. Pain. 2012 153(9):1789-93 [PubMed - in process].
Albuquerque K, Tell D, Lobo P, Millbrandt L, Mathews H, Witek-Janusek L. Impact of partial versus whole breast radiation therapy on fatigue, perceived stress, quality of life and natural killer cell activity in women with breast cancer.BMC Cancer. 2012 Jun 18;12(1):251PMID: 22708709
Witek Janusek L, Tell D, Albuquerque K, Mathews HL. Childhood adversity increases vulnerability for behavioral symptoms and immune dysregulation in women with breast cancer. Brain Behav Immun. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Mar;30 Suppl:S149-62.
Search PubMed for a complete listing of Herb Mathews' publications