Perceived stress, cytomegalovirus titers, and late-differentiated T and NK cells: Between-, within-person associations in a longitudinal study of older adults

Rebecca G. Reed, Steven R. Presnell, Ahmad Al-Attar, Charles T. Lutz, Suzanne C. Segerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and psychological stress are implicated as drivers of immunological aging. It is unknown, however, whether associations among CMV titers, stress, and immune aging are more stable or dynamic over time. The present investigation tested the between-person (stable differences) and within-person (dynamic fluctuations) associations of CMV titers and perceived stress on late-differentiated T and natural killer (NK) peripheral blood cells in a longitudinal study of older adults aged 64–92 years (N = 149). Participants reported stress levels and provided blood biannually for 2.5 years (up to 5 waves per person) to assess CMV IgG titers and composites of late-differentiated CD8 T cells (CD28- and CD57 + subsets) and CD56dim NK cells (CD57+, NKG2C+, and FcεRIγ- subsets). In multilevel models that controlled for demographic variables, higher CMV titers were associated with higher proportions and counts of aged T and NK cells between people and lower counts of aged T cells within people. Perceived stress was associated with higher counts of aged T cells between people, but was not associated with aged NK cells. A significant interaction between stress and CMV titers on T cells between people indicated that older adults with lower stress levels and lower CMV titers had the lowest proportions of late-differentiated T cells, whereas those with higher stress levels had high proportions, regardless of CMV control. Our results provide evidence for longer-term, between-person associations among CMV titers, stress, and immunological aging, rather than dynamic within-person associations. We propose that targeting factors that promote low, stable perceived stress in older adults may retard T cell differentiation and ultimately support healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-274
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume80
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Immunosenescence
  • Longitudinal
  • Psychological stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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