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Income and Markers of Immunological Cellular Aging


Aiello, Allison E.; Feinstein, Lydia; Dowd, Jennifer Beam; Pawelec, Graham; Derhovanessian, Evelyna; Galea, Sandro; Uddin, Monica; Wildman, Derek E.; & Simanek, Amanda M. (2016). Income and Markers of Immunological Cellular Aging. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78(6), 657-666. PMCID: PMC4927391


Objective: Socioeconomic disadvantage may contribute to poor health through immune-related biological mechanisms. We examined the associations between socioeconomic status, as measured by annual household income, and T-cell markers of aging, including the ratios of CD4 and CD8 effector cells to naive cells (E/N ratio) and the CD4/CD8 T-cell ratio. We hypothesized that participants with a lower income would have higher E/N ratios and lower CD4/CD8 ratios compared with participants with a higher income, and that these associations would be partially mediated by elevated cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG antibody levels, a virus implicated in aging and clonal expansion of T cells.
Methods: Data were from 79 individuals who participated in the population-based Detroit Neighborhood Health Study. We used linear regression to quantify the association between a $10,000 decrease in income and each ratio outcome.
Results: After adjustment for age, sex, race, smoking, medication use, and lifetime history of mental health conditions, lower income was associated with a 0.41 (95% confidence interval = 0.09-0.72) log-unit increase in the CD4 E/N ratio and a 0.20 (95% confidence interval = 0.02-0.39) log-unit increase in the CD8 E/N ratio. CMV immunoglobulin G antibody level partially mediated these associations.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that low socioeconomic status is associated with immunological aging as measured by the E/N ratio and that impaired immune control of CMV may partially mediate these associations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Psychosomatic Medicine


Aiello, Allison E.
Feinstein, Lydia
Dowd, Jennifer Beam
Pawelec, Graham
Derhovanessian, Evelyna
Galea, Sandro
Uddin, Monica
Wildman, Derek E.
Simanek, Amanda M.