Natural killer (NK) cell activity and NK cell subsets in workers with a tendency of burnout

Hiroyuki Nakamura, Hirofumi Nagase, Masami Yoshida, Keiki Ogino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The involvement of cellular immunity in the burnout syndrome remains to be elucidated. We assessed three components of burnout of the Maslach Burnout Inventory: emotional exhaustion; depersonalization (DP); and personal accomplishment, as well as natural killer cell activity (NKCA) and NK cell subsets in 42 male workers. Workers with a higher DP score showed a lower NKCA and a lower proportionality of CD57+CD16+ to total lymphocytes. There were no differences in any of the health behaviors (e.g., smoking, alcohol, or obesity) between workers showing higher burnout and those showing lower burnout. A stepwise multiple regressions analysis demonstrated that NKCA was closely correlated with DP, independent of other variables, including a stress index. These results suggest that the relationship between reduced cellular immunity and DP is not due to traditional work stress or health behavioral problems. Further studies on DP as a psychosomatic disorder as well as an occupational health problem should be performed in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999


  • Burnout
  • Cellular immunity
  • NK cell activity
  • Natural killer cell (NK) cell subsets
  • Stress
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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