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Title: Chronic stress and ageing : effects on immune function
Author: Vitlić, Ana
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 3107
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2014
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The research in this thesis is concerned with the effect of chronic stress, caregiving and bereavement, and ageing on immune and endocrine parameters. First, there was no difference in serum anti-CMV antibody titre between younger caregivers and matched controls, but CMV seropositive caregivers with more negative health behaviours had higher CMV antibody titre. Second, there was no difference in neutrophil function between caregivers and controls in both younger and older group, while only younger caregivers showed a higher serum cortisol:cortisone ratio than controls. Further, those caregivers that reported higher anxiety and burden symptoms had lower neutrophil phagocytosis. Third, caregivers had more senescent KLRG1\(^+\) T cells than controls, but comparable number of “exhausted” PD-1\(^+\) T cells and thymic output. Finally, young bereaved adults showed similar neutrophil function and serum cortisol and DHEAS levels as non-bereaved controls, whereas older bereaved adults had impaired neutrophil function and a higher cortisol:DHEAS ratio. These findings suggest that chronic stress can have differential effects on immune and endocrine parameters, but in some cases, presence of immunosenescence is required for immune decrements to be observed. Further, they emphasise the importance of focusing on the individual's response to chronic stress rather than their chronic stress status, per se.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC1200 Sports Medicine