Stress, immune function, and women's reproduction

Pablo A. Nepomnaschy, Eyal Sheiner, George Mastorakos, Petra C. Arck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Only 23% of women will begin a successful pregnancy during the first menstrual cycle in their attempt to conceive.1 A large number of these failed reproductive attempts are attributed to a broad set of pathologies, but across studies an important proportion of unsuccessful cycles is consistently left unexplained. Stress has become a commonly cited factor when discussing unexplained reproductive failures. Early research on the effect of stress on reproduction was plagued with methodological problems and lacked a solid theoretical framework. However, recent experimental, clinical and population-based research provides new evidence and suggests novel biological mechanisms, which merit a fresh evaluation of the purported association. Here we briefly review the latest advancements in the study of the interplay between stress, the immune system and women's reproduction, discuss a proposed evolutionary origin for their relationship and examine the biological pathways that may mediate the connection between these three systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStress Responses
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)157331675X, 9781573316750
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Evolution
  • Immune function
  • Reproductive function
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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