New research reveals that physiological stress load may accelerate ageing by affecting immune cells. The study found that stress load correlates with age and is linked to changes in T lymphocyte subsets, which are crucial for immune response. This suggests that managing stress could be key to promoting healthy ageing.
- Stress and ageing connection: The study establishes a clear link between cumulative physiological stress and age-related changes in immune cells, known as immunosenescence. This connection emphasises the importance of stress management in the context of ageing
- Impact on younger individuals: In younger people, physiological stress load may reduce regulatory T cell frequencies to levels typically seen in older individuals. This suggests that stress might accelerate certain aspects of the ageing process even in younger age groups
- Age-independent effects: Independent of age, stress load was found to contribute to changes in the naïve Treg pool and memory Treg cells. This highlights that stress can influence the immune system’s composition and function across all age groups, potentially affecting susceptibility to diseases and overall health
- Potential for intervention: By identifying specific physiological stress load components that correlate with changes in immune cells, the study opens avenues for targeted interventions. Understanding these relationships could lead to strategies for slowing down or mitigating age-related changes in the immune system
Reference: Snodgrass, R.G., Jiang, X., Stephensen, C.B. et al. Cumulative physiological stress is associated with age-related changes to peripheral T lymphocyte subsets in healthy humans. Immun Ageing 20, 29 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12979-023-00357-5