Socioeconomic Gradients in Immune Response to Latent Infection

In this article, research explored the relationship between socioeconomic factors and the levels of antibodies associated with maintaining the latency of immune system infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Comprising the study sample were 1,503 individuals 60-100 years of age who were part of a larger cohort of the 1998-1999 Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA). Participants had blood samples taken and were interviewed at the first stage of what was a prospective study.

Key Findings:

  • A significant relationship existed between years of education and levels of antibodies to CMV and HSV-1, such that individuals who had attained more years of education had lower antibody levels.
  • Even after adjusting for health indicators, smoking, and body mass index, there was a significant relationship between education and antibodies to CMV and HSV-1.