The subjects, 36 postmenopausal women (mean±SD age, 57.2±6.6 years) responded to announcements offering $200 for a study on wound healing; notices had been placed in community, hospital, and university newspapers, as well as senior citizen centers. The participants were not selected on the basis of any stress criteria and were not screened for psychiatric illness. Based on the substantial relationships observed between stress and wound healing, even within the control group in a previous dermal wound study,3 these women were recruited through the same sources (and with the same health criteria) to provide parallel data on mechanisms. Women who met criteria following a 15- to 20-minute telephone interview were sent a detailed letter describing the protocol. The average education was partial college; 16 were married, 13 were separated or divorced, and the rest were widowed (n=5) or single (n=2). Subjects were excluded if they reported a history of diabetes mellitus or peripheral vascular disease, difficulties with wound healing, the use of anti-inflammatory medication or other medications with obvious immunologic consequences, or immunologically related health problems, eg, cancer, autoimmune disease, or recent surgical treatment. In addition, smokers were excluded, as were women who reported drinking 10 or more alcoholic beverages per week. The 17 women taking estrogen supplements, medroxyprogesterone acetate, or both, were evaluated during the estrogen-only phase of their cycle. Data from 4 women were not included in the final analyses; 2 had no blister chamber data after 24 hours due to leakage, 1 subject's complete blood cell count was aberrant, and 1 woman's baseline cortisol level fell more than 4 SDs above the mean. The Ohio State University Biomedical Research Review Committee approved the project; all subjects gave written informed consent before the initial blood specimen was drawn (Table 1).