Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Carl Cheney


Carl Cheney


J. Grayson Osborne


Reed Warren


Sebastian Striefel


Charles Salzburg


William Dobson


Psychoneuroimmunology is an interdisciplinary area that examines the interaction between behavior, the central nervous system, and the immune system. Many investigations have utilized a taste aversion paradigm to examine the effects of classical conditioning on an immune response. The procedure generally consists of an animal ingesting a novel flavor, and then being made ill and immunosuppressed by injection of a pharmacological agent. The animal is provided access to that flavor at a later time. The rejection of the novel flavor on the test day is called taste aversion and the depressed antibody titer has been labeled conditioned immunosuppression.

The present research was designed condition a secondary immune response and expand the evaluation of such conditioning to include both antibody titer and affinity. The Enzyme Linked Immunoassay was also introduced as the procedure of choice to quantify immune reactivity.

A depression in antibody titer and affinity was found following exposure to three of four test trials. Taste aversion did not correlate with the immune response as increased consumption of the novel flavor was exhibited on the third and fourth test trial.

In the second experiment, the dosage of cyclophosphamide was increased. A depression in antibody affinity was found after the third and fourth test trials, which was consistent with the results of the first experiment. Unlike the first experiment, a depression in antibody titer was not attained on test days. Although taste aversion was observed in the treatment group on three of the four test trials, it had extinguished by test four.

The results support the concept of conditioned suppression of an antigen specific immune response by exposure to the taste aversion paradigm. An important contribution of the present research was the use and modification of a precise and sensitive assay for quantification of titer and affinity; the demonstration of conditioned suppression in both antibody titer and affinity; and the demonstration of conditioned immunosuppression with a single component CS.



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