Research: ZACHARIAE and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 72


ZACHARIAE and colleagues, Psycho-oncology Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Barthsgade 5, 3 DK8200 Aarhus N, Denmark, examined the influence of mood on skin reactivity to histamine by comparing the effects of hypnotically induced emotions on skin reactions to histamine prick tests.


The severity of symptoms of asthma and other hypersensitivity disorders has been associated with changes in mood . However, little is known about the mechanisms that may mediate such a relationship.


Subjects were 15 highly hypnotically susceptible volunteers . Cutaneous reactivity to histamine was measured before hypnosis at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 15 minutes after cutaneous histamine prick . The measurements were repeated under three hypnotically induced emotions (sadness, anger and happiness) presented in a counter-balanced order. Skin reactions were measured as change in histamine flare and wheal area in mm2 per minute.


The increase in flare reaction in the time interval from 1 to 3 minutes during happiness and anger was significantly smaller than that during sadness (p<0.05). No effect of emotion was found for wheal reactions . Hypnotic susceptibility scores were associated with increased flare reactions at baseline (r=0.56; p<0.05) and during the condition of happiness (r=0.56; p<0.05).


The authors report that their findings are consistent with those of previous studies showing mood to be a predictor of cutaneous immediate-type hypersensitivity and histamine skin reactions . They are also in concordance with earlier findings of an association between hypnotic susceptibility and increased reactivity to an allergen .


Zachariae R et al. Skin reactions to hisstamine of healthy subjects after hypnotically induced emotions of sadness, anger, and happiness. Allergy 56 (8): 734-40. Aug 2001.

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