Consistent associations between measures of psychological stress and CMV antibody levels in a large occupational sample

Jerrald L Rector, Jennifer B Dowd, Adrian Loerbroks, Victoria E Burns, Paul Moss, Marc N Jarczok, Tobias Stalder, Kristina Hoffman, Joachim E Fischer, Jos A Bosch

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpes virus that has been implicated in biological aging and impaired health. Evidence, largely accrued from small-scale studies involving select populations, suggests that stress may promote non-clinical reactivation of this virus. However, absent is evidence from larger studies, which allow better statistical adjustment for confounding and mediating factors, in more representative samples. The present study involved a large occupational cohort (N=887, mean age=44, 88% male). Questionnaires assessed psychological (i.e., depression, anxiety, vital exhaustion, SF-12 mental health), demographic, socioeconomic (SES), and lifestyle variables. Plasma samples were analyzed for both the presence and level of CMV-specific IgG antibodies (CMV-IgG), used as markers for infection status and viral reactivation, respectively. Also assessed were potential biological mediators of stress-induced reactivation, such as inflammation (C-reactive protein) and HPA function (awakening and diurnal cortisol). Predictors of CMV infection and CMV-IgG among the infected individuals were analyzed using logistic and linear regression analyses, respectively. Confirming prior reports, lower SES (education and job status) was positively associated with infection status. Among those infected (N=329), higher CMV-IgG were associated with increased anxiety (β=.14, p
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain, Behaviour, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2014

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Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.


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