From the article:
To create a stressful environment, researchers housed three young male mice together for several weeks. After the mice established a stable social hierarchy, researchers introduced an older aggressive male into the residence for a couple of hours. The intruder exhibits aggressive behavior – posturing, fighting, wounding, pursuit – that results in submissive behaviors and social defeat in the younger resident mice. This procedure was repeated for three consecutive nightly two-hour sessions with one night off, followed by an additional three nightly sessions. To keep the mice from getting used to the intruder, a new intruder was introduced for each session.
What they found was this stress appears to elevate levels of IL-6, which subsequently increases the severity of the MS-like illness. Furthermore, using specific IL-6 neutralizing antibody treatments during the stress exposure can prevent the stress-related worsening of the disease, said the authors.
Furthermore, interventions that prevented or reversed the stress-induced increases in IL-6 in the mouse model may have implications for humans, said Meagher. It is possible that the adverse effects of social conflict on people who are vulnerable to certain inflammatory diseases may be prevented or reversed by treatments aimed at blocking increases in this cytokine. Recent evidence suggests that some potential interventions include certain anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, antidepressant medication, omega-3 fatty acids, and mindfulness relaxation training. However, human clinical trials are needed to fully evaluate this issue.