: Both corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and serotonin (5-HT) participate in the stress response and are known to modulate cytokine release by human immune cells. Extracellular 5-HT concentrations at or above the serum values have negative immunoregulatory effects by inhibiting the production of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma), a pro-inflammatory cytokine produced by Th-1-like lymphocytes, whereas 5-HT has no significant effects on the production of interleukin-10 (IL-10), an anti-inflammatory cytokine. In one study, CRH significantly decreases IFNgamma production by cultured human peripheral blood immunocytes, whereas in other studies CRH increases the production of cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-2 and IL-6. The aims of the present study were to examine i) the effects of CRH, 10-9 M, 10(-8) M and 10(-7) M, on the stimulated production of IFNgamma, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) by human whole blood; and ii) whether CRH, 10(-9) M, 10(-8) M and 10(-7) M, may antagonize some of the negative immunoregulatory effects of 5-HT, 1.5 microg/mL or 15 microg/mL. We found that CRH, 10(-9) M, 10(-8) M and 10(-7) M, had no significant effects either on the stimulated production of IFNgamma, IL-10 or TNFalpha or on the IFNg/IL-10 production ratio, which reflects the pro-inflammatory capacity of the culture. 5-HT, 1,5 microg/dL and 15 microg/dL, significantly suppressed the production of IFNgamma and TNFalpha and the IFNg/IL-10 production ratio. CRH, 10(-7) M, significantly reversed the 5-HT (1.5 microg/mL and 15 microg/mL)-induced suppression of IFNg production. CRH at all concentrations significantly blocked the 5-HT (1.5 microg/mL and 15 microg/mL)-induced suppression of TNFalpha production. The results suggest that CRH has no significant direct effects on the production of IFNgamma, IL-10 and TNFalpha, but antagonizes the negative immunoregulatory effects of 5-HT on the production of IFNgamma and TNFalpha and on the IFNgamma/IL-10 production ratio.