Elevated antibodies to latent herpesviruses have been demonstrated to be a reliable marker of diminished cellular immunity and recently have been associated with low socioeconomic position (SEP) in older adults. Extending these observations in a community-based study over a wide age range would provide an important new direction for investigating mechanisms underlying poor health outcomes in individuals with low SEP. We measured anti-HSV-1 and anti-EBV antibodies in blood samples from 1,457 adults ages 25-90. Individuals were significantly more likely to have higher antiviral antibodies (i.e., reactivation) of both EBV and HSV-1 than one virus alone. Individuals in the lowest age group had less reactivation, while greater reactivation was observed in females and those with the least education. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks experienced more viral reactivation. These relationships remained strong after controlling for sociodemographic factors as well as smoking status, body mass index, and physical activity. These results demonstrate that herpesvirus reactivation is associated with variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and education and may play a role in poorer health outcomes in both younger and older adults.
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