Prof Mats Lekander

Phone: +46 8 5537 8933




M Sci Psychology 1990, PhD Psychology (Faculty of Medicine) 1996

Research profile/Current work
I work in the intersection between psychology and biomedicine. In particular, I study the interaction between the brain and the immune system and the role of behavior in this interaction. This may for instance relate to the effects of stress or inadequate sleep on the immune system and brain function. Several relevant studies are focused on allergy. A particular interest lies in how the immune system affects brain activity and thus the subjective health experience. In this area, I study how both acute and chronic inflammation affects the sensitivity to pain, fatigue and the so-called self-rated health. My interest in the mechanisms underlying general health and stress, has in recent years also been applied in treatment research, where several studies are ongoing. One example is acupuncture and the role of placebo and the interaction between therapist and patient have on the effectiveness of the therapy. Other studies, includes the treatment of insomnia or health anxiety (hypochondria) using cognitive behavioral therapy, or how the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) can be used for chronic pain conditions. In almost all studies, biological and psychological scales of observation complement each other in order to provide a better understanding.

Psychosocial factors and immune parameters during cancer chemotherapy, 1996

Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society

Selected publications

Lekander, M., Elofsson, S., Néve, I.-M., Hansson, L.-O., & Undén, A.-L. (2004). Self-rated health is related to levels of circulating cytokines. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66(4), 559-563.

Olgart Höglund, C., Axén, J., Jernelöv, S., Müller-Suur, C., Smith, Y., Kemi, C., Grönneberg, R., Stierna, P., Eklund, A., Grunewald, J., & Lekander, M. (2006). Changes in immune homeostasis in response to examination stress in atopic and healthy individuals. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 36(8), 982-992.

Lekander, M., Axen, J., Knutsson, U., Olgart Hoglund, C., Werner, S., Wikstrom, A. C., & Stierna, P. (2009). Cytokine inhibition after glucocorticoid exposure in healthy men with low versus high basal cortisol levels. Neuroimmunomodulation, 16(4), 245-250.

Wicksell RK, Melin L, Lekander M & Olsson GL (2009). Evaluating the effectiveness of exposure and acceptance strategies to improve functioning and quality of life in longstanding pediatric pain--a randomized controlled trial. Pain. Feb;141(3):248-57

Axelsson J, Sundelin T, Ingre M, van Someren, EJW, Olsson A & Lekander M (2010). Beauty sleep: Sleep history affects perceived attractiveness and health. British Medical Journal, 2010;341:c6614.


    Sleep and social interaction: The effects of sleep deprivation on communication, cooperation, and helpfulness
    01/01/2014 - 31/12/2016
    The ability to communicate and cooperate is necessary for successful social interactions. In some circumstances it could mean the difference between life and death; healthcare workers have to be able to inform each other about patients, and pilots have to be able to land through ...

    Dynamics of subjective health: biophysosocial mechanisms and responses to external events
    01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014
    Svensk sammanfattning

    Projektet kommer att studera bestämningsfaktorer för subjektiv hälsa, med ett fokus på variation över tiden. Det kommer att kombinera epidemiologiska, naturalistiska och experimentella angreppssätt i en tvärvete...

    Dynamics of self-rated health: biopsychosocial mechanisms and relations to external events
    01/01/2011 - 31/12/2013
    Self-rated (subjective) health is a construct of increasing importance to understand health development over time. In addition to its obvious importance for the individual, self-rated health is a strong predictor of health care consumption, morbidity and mortality. Even though so...

    Collaborating with

    Åkerstedt, Torbjörn
    Director of the Stress Research Institute

    PhD in Psychology

    Research profile/Current work
    I am a professor and director of the Stress Resear...


    Division of Psychoneuroimmunology

    In the research area psychoneuroimmunology, the importance of behaviour in the interplay between the brain, the endocrine and the immune system is studied. Within this framework, we study how stress and sleep influences the immune system, and how the immune system in turn infl...

    Last updated on 2017-16-06 at 11:14