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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 990; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040990

The Modulatory Effect of Gender and Cytomegalovirus-Seropositivity on Circulating Inflammatory Factors and Cognitive Performance in Elderly Individuals

1
Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin, Germany
2
Center for Medical Research, University of Tübingen, Waldhörnlestr. 22, 72072 Tübingen, Germany
3
Becton Dickinson Biosciences, Tullastr. 8-12, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunosenescence and Related Processes)
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Abstract

Aging is characterized by a chronic increase in the systemic levels of inflammatory cytokines even in ostensibly healthy individuals. The drivers of age-related increase in systemic inflammation are unclear but one potential contributor may be a persistent infection with Cytomegalovirus (CMV). In this study, we characterized the inflammatory status of 161 older participants recruited to undergo a six-month training intervention. We investigated the influence of gender and CMV-seropositivity on the main inflammatory and anti-inflammatory circulating biomarkers, such as cytokines, receptor antagonist, soluble receptor, immune cells, and relevant metabolic markers. We found that both gender and CMV-seropositivity modulate circulating peripheral biomarkers, and that CMV-infection modifies associations among the latter. Moreover, we observed an interaction between CMV-serostatus and gender associations with cognitive abilities: gender differences in fluid intelligence (Gf) and working memory (WM) were noted only in CMV-negative individuals. Finally, we found that in the CMV-seronegative participants Gf, episodic memory (EM), and WM correlated negatively with pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor (TNF); and EM correlated positively with anti-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-10. In CMV-seropositive individuals EM and Gf correlated negatively with pro-inflammatory IL-6, while EM, Gf, and WM correlated negatively with anti-inflammatory IL-1RA. We conclude that both CMV-serostatus and gender may modulate neuroimmune factors, cognitive performance and the relationship between the two domains and should therefore be considered in comparative and interventional studies with elderly people. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; immunosenescence; inflammaging; pro-inflammatory cytokines; anti-inflammatory cytokines; cytomegalovirus; gender; cognition aging; immunosenescence; inflammaging; pro-inflammatory cytokines; anti-inflammatory cytokines; cytomegalovirus; gender; cognition
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Di Benedetto, S.; Gaetjen, M.; Müller, L. The Modulatory Effect of Gender and Cytomegalovirus-Seropositivity on Circulating Inflammatory Factors and Cognitive Performance in Elderly Individuals. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 990.

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