Cytomegalovirus is associated with depression and anxiety in older adults



Phillips AC, Carroll D, Khan N & Moss P (2008) Cytomegalovirus is associated with depression and anxiety in older adults. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22 (1), pp. 52-55.

Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a b-herpesvirus, is common within the population. Although asymptomatic, infection is associated with increased serum concentrations of cytokines such as TNFa and IL-6, which are also related to mood and wellbeing. The present study examined whether infection with CMV was associated with mood in a community-based sample of older adults. Blood samples and scores on the General Health Questionnaire were available for 137 participants. Serum was analysed for the presence of CMV-specific IgG and the antibody titre was used as an indirect measure of viral load. The majority of the participants (66%) were CMV-seropositive and seropositive status was not associated with psychological morbidity. However, within the CMV-positive group, individuals with higher CMV-specific antibody titres were more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suffer more overall psychological morbidity. This association could be mediated by the impact of affect-moderating cytokines secreted through the CMV-specific immune response.

Cytomegalovirus; Depression; Anxiety; Ageing

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: Volume 22, Issue 1

FundersUniversity of Birmingham
Publication date31/01/2008
Publication date online20/08/2007
Date accepted by journal28/06/2007
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Sport