Income and markers of immunological cellular aging

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 naïve 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-666
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Detroit Neighborhood Health Study
  • aging
  • cytomegalovirus
  • immunity
  • immunosenescence
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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