Persistent infections with cytomegalovirus (CMV) differentially affect the host immune phenotype in middle-aged males and females. Because CMV already impacts on T-cell memory at a young age, we studied whether these effects were modified by sex in 1,079 children with an average age of 6 years. Sex and CMV independently impacted on multiple B-cell and T-cell subsets. However, there was no significant effect of their interaction. Importantly, the effects of sex and CMV were in part explained by age and infection with other herpesviruses. Thus, immune aging is likely to be more complex, with involvement of hormonal changes with age, socioeconomic status, birth characteristics, and pathogen exposure.

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The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Jansen, M., Van Den Heuvel, D., Jaddoe, V., Moll, H., & van Zelm, M. (2017). No interactive effects of sex and persistent cytomegalovirus on immune phenotypes in young children: The generation R study. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 215(6), 883–888. doi:10.1093/infdis/jix064