Immobilization stress induces formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and leads to the oxidative injury in various tissues. In this study, the effects of immobilization stress on peripheral blood cells distribution, plasma level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and activities of antioxidant enzymes in erythrocytes were investigated in male Fischer rats. A significant increase in plasma TBARS was observed during and after the stress. Dramatic increases of neutrophils and monocytes imply that ROS formation resulted from their activation. Furthermore, the antioxidant activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in erythrocytes were dramatically increased during and after the stress, while a large fall in erythrocyte number was observed. These findings suggest that the activation of immune cells can be a source of the immobilization-induced ROS production, and that antioxidant enzymes in erythrocytes play an important role in preventing the ROS-induced injuries.
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