T cell immunity and caregiving stress in young and older caregivers

Ana Vitlic, Janet M Lord, Wiebke Arlt, Chris Oliver, Anna C Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The present study aimed to examine the impact of caregiving stress and aging on parameters of Tcell immunity using caregivers and controls across two age cohorts.Methods: Seventy-nine young and older caregivers (parents of children with developmental disabilities andspousal dementia caregivers, respectively) were compared to 76 non-caregiving controls. Participants completedquestionnaires to provide information about socio-demographics, health behaviour, psychosocial and caregivingvariables, and provided a blood sample. T cell senescence and exhaustion markers, thymic output, and serumCMV antibody titre were assessed.Results: Despite greater psychological morbidity (greater depression, anxiety, perceived stress) than controls,caregivers showed robust immunity for most T cell parameters with the exception of KLRG-1 (marker involvedin T cell senescence pathway).Conclusions: A higher percentage of KLRG1+ T cells in caregivers could explain the poorer vaccinationresponse that has previously been reported in this group. These data also suggest that the impact of caregivingper se on immunity is not uniform.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalHealthy Aging Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


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