Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans

Markus J. Rantala, Fhionna R. Moore, Ilona Skrinda, Tatjana Krama, Inese Kivleniece, Sanita Kecko, Indrikis Krams

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Abstract

Secondary sexual traits that develop under the action of testosterone, such as masculine human male facial characteristics, have been proposed to signal the strength of the immune system due to the sex hormone's immunosuppressive action. Recent work has suggested that glucocorticoid stress hormones may also influence expression of such sexual signals due to their effects on immune function. Precise roles, however, remain unclear. Here we show positive relationships between testosterone, facial attractiveness and immune function (antibody response to a hepatitis B vaccine) in human males, and present some preliminary evidence that these relationships are moderated by naturally co-occurring cortisol (a glucocorticoid stress hormone involved in the fight-or-flight response). We conclude that our results provide support for a role of glucocorticoids in hormonally mediated sexual selection.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalNature Communications
Volume3
Issue number694
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2012

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glucocorticoids
disabilities
Immunocompetence
hormones
Glucocorticoids
Testosterone
Hormones
vaccines
hepatitis
immune systems
Hepatitis B Vaccines
Immune system
Gonadal Steroid Hormones
Immunosuppressive Agents
antibodies
Antibody Formation
Hydrocortisone
Immune System
flight
Antibodies

Cite this

Rantala, M. J., Moore, F. R., Skrinda, I., Krama, T., Kivleniece, I., Kecko, S., & Krams, I. (2012). Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans. Nature Communications, 3(694). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1696
Rantala, Markus J. ; Moore, Fhionna R. ; Skrinda, Ilona ; Krama, Tatjana ; Kivleniece, Inese ; Kecko, Sanita ; Krams, Indrikis. / Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans. In: Nature Communications. 2012 ; Vol. 3, No. 694.
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Rantala, MJ, Moore, FR, Skrinda, I, Krama, T, Kivleniece, I, Kecko, S & Krams, I 2012, 'Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans', Nature Communications, vol. 3, no. 694. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1696

Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans. / Rantala, Markus J.; Moore, Fhionna R.; Skrinda, Ilona; Krama, Tatjana; Kivleniece, Inese; Kecko, Sanita; Krams, Indrikis.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 3, No. 694, 21.02.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Rantala MJ, Moore FR, Skrinda I, Krama T, Kivleniece I, Kecko S et al. Evidence for the stress-linked immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in humans. Nature Communications. 2012 Feb 21;3(694). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1696