Contemporaneous Social Environment and the Architecture of Late-Life Gene Expression Profiles.

TitleContemporaneous Social Environment and the Architecture of Late-Life Gene Expression Profiles.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLevine, ME, Crimmins, EM, Weir, DR, Cole, SW
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
ISSN Number1476-6256
KeywordsGenetics, Socioeconomic factors

Environmental or social challenges can stimulate a cascade of coordinated physiological changes in stress response systems. Unfortunately, chronic activation of these adaptations under conditions such as low socioeconomic status (SES) can have negative consequences for long-term health. While there is substantial evidence tying low SES to increased disease risk and reduced life expectancy, the underlying biology remains poorly understood. Using pilot data on 120 older adults from the Health and Retirement Study (United States, 2002-2010), we examined the associations between SES and gene expression levels in adulthood, with particular focus on a gene expression program known as the conserved transcriptional response to adversity. We also used a bioinformatics-based approach to assess the activity of specific gene regulation pathways involved in inflammation, antiviral responses, and stress-related neuroendocrine signaling. We found that low SES was related to increased expression of conserved transcriptional response to adversity genes and distinct patterns of proinflammatory, antiviral, and stress signaling (e.g., sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) transcription factor activation.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalAm. J. Epidemiol.
Citation Key9326
PubMed ID28911009
PubMed Central IDPMC5860329
Grant ListK99 AG052604 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000037 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 NS048004 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG017265 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States