1. SILVERMAN M, PEARCE B, BIRON C, MILLER A. Immune Modulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis during Viral Infection. Viral Immunol 2005; 18(1):41-78.
*Quick Summary of Study: This article exams the physiology behind the hypothalamic- pituitary- adrenal axis and the interaction between this system and the immune system when one is being challenged by a viral infection.
Compelling data has been amassed indicating that soluble factors, or cytokines, emanating from the immune system can have profound effects on the neuroendocrine system, in particular the hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. HPA activation by cytokines (via the release of glucocorticoids), in turn, has been found to play a critical role in restraining and shaping immune responses. Thus, cytokine-HPA interactions represent a fundamental consideration regarding the maintenance of homeostasis and the development of disease during viral infection. Although reviews exist that focus on the bi-directional communication between the immune system and the HPA axis during viral infection (188,235), others have focused on the immunomodulatory effects of glucocorticoids during viral infection (14,225). This review, however, concentrates on the other side of the bi-directional loop of neuroendocrine-immune interactions, namely, the characterization of HPA axis activity during viral infection and the mechanisms employed by cytokines to stimulate glucocorticoid release
2. Kimura Y, Sumiyoshi M. Effects of various Eleutherococcus senticosus cortex on swimming time, natural killer activity and corticosterone level in forced swimming stressed mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Dec; 95(2-3):447-53.
*Quick Summary of Study: Animal model demonstrates the stress reducing effects of Eleuthero Root on mice.
The cortex of Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim. has been used extensively in Russia, China, Korea and Japan as an adaptogen whose properties are the ability to increase as non-specific body resistance to stress and fatigue. Although it has been reported that Eleutherococcus senticosus has anti-fatigue and anti-stressactions, their actions are still unclear on the relationship between immune system, especially natural killer (NK) activity and endocrine system (corticosterone level). We compared the effects of the water extracts (A, B, C, D and E) of five Eleutherococcus senticosus cortex on the swimming time, NK activity and blood corticosterone level using forced swimming stressed mice. Among five kinds, C, D and E extracts significantly prolonged the swimming time. C and D extracts inhibited the reduction of NK activity and the corticosterone elevation induced by forced swimming. The contents of eleutheroside E, isoflaxidin and eleutherosides B plus E were in the order C > D > E > B > A and C > E > D > A > B extracts, respectively. Therefore, it is suggested that eleutheroside E may be contributed to the anti-fatigue action, the recovery of the reduction of NK activity and the inhibition of corticosterone elevation induced by swimming stress
*Quick Summary of Study: This review article explores the positive effects of adaptogenic herbs on regulating the resistance to stress.
The aim of this review article is to assess the level of scientific evidence presented by clinical trials of adaptogens in fatigue, and to provide a rationale at the molecular level for verified effects. Strong scientific evidence is available for Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract, which improved attention, cognitive function and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome. Good scientific evidence has been documented in trails in which Schisandra chinensis and Eleutherococcus senticosus increased endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness. Based on their efficacy in clinical studies, adaptogens can be defined as a pharmacological group of herbal preparations that increase tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance in situations of decreased performance. The beneficial stress-protective effect of adaptogens is related to regulation of homeostasis via several mechanisms of action associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the control of key mediators of stress response such as molecular chaperons (e.g. Hsp70), stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK1), Forkhead Box O transcription factor DAF-16, cortisol and nitric oxide (NO). The key point of action of phytoadaptogens appears to be their up-regulating and stress-mimetic effects on the "stress-sensor" protein Hsp70, which plays an important role in cell survival and apoptosis. Hsp70 inhibits the expression of NO synthase II gene and interacts with glucocorticoid receptors directly and via the JNK pathway, thus affecting the levels of circulating cortisol and NO. Prevention of stress-induced increase in NO, and the associated decrease in ATP production, results in increased performance and endurance. Adaptogen-induced up-regulation of Hsp70 triggers stress-induced JNK-1 and DAF-16-mediated pathways regulating the resistance to stress and resulting in enhanced mental and physical performance and, possibly, increased longevity
4. Kelly G, Head K. Nutrients and Botanical for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalances, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review 2009; 14(2).
5. Addy B, Hazra J, Mitra A, Abedon B, Ghosal S. A standardized Withania Somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. JANA 2008; 11(1).