Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Social stress changes immune system gene expression in primates

This article discusses a study linking social status and gene regulation in female primates.  By comparing the expression of 1,000 genes between high and low ranking rhesus macaque females, the study found significant differences in genes tied to immune response.  They also found that when a female's rank improves, her gene expression would change within a few weeks.  The results suggest that primates with low rank, and therefore chronic stress of survival, compromise their immune system. These results hold interesting implications for the link between human health and stress, as well as the link between socioeconomic status and elevated disease risk.

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