Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Elaine Lee, Douglas Casa, Rob Huggins

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Dehydration has many deleterious effects ranging from impaired cognitive function to decreased aerobic performance. This study evaluated the effects of a mild, passive dehydration on the transcriptional responses of circulating immune cells. We pursued research questions about how whole-body dehydration and small changes in plasma osmolality may affect the greater concept of immune resiliency or susceptibility to infection through acute gene expression changes that may persist during chronic stress. Our approach was to precisely quantify hypertonicity experienced by circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells and neutrophils and quantify transcriptomic changes in cell lysates using RNAseq. RNAseq revealed 373 total genes changing significantly in the level of expression following a 24-hour fluid restriction protocol in 18 male subjects (23±3.28 years, 80.09±9.6 kg, 175.78±5.68 cm). Upregulated biological process GO Terms included coagulation, humoral immune response, granulocyte activation, neutrophil-mediated immunity, and regulation of body fluid levels. Downregulated biological process GO Terms included response to interferon-gamma, interferon-gamma-signaling pathway, innate immune response, and lymphocyte mediated immunity. Further research should be done on specific genes within the set to determine their candidacy as novel biomarkers related to dehydration.

Major Advisor

Elaine Lee