cytokines Protein messenger molecules secreted by cells of the immune system that serve to communicate between immune cells and signal the presence of foreign material within the body.

lymphocyte proliferation assay An assay conducted to examine the ability of lymphocytes to mount a response against one of a number of standard mitogens.

mitogen A plant-like substance that elicits a cascade of immune responses, including the division of lymphocytes.

stress A negative experience elicited by threat, harm, or demand.

Research in behavioral neuroimmunology examines the interaction of central nervous system-mediated behavior and the immune system, two areas that were once thought to operate relatively independently. However, recent interdisciplinary research has revealed that these components can affect and be affected by each other. Specifically, the primary focus of behavioral neuroimmunology research is on the bidirectional relationship between behavior and immunity, examining the impact of health-risk behaviors on the immune system, and the relatively newly discovered impact of immune activation on subsequent behavior.

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