Public Release: 28-Nov-2016
Immune system influenced by social status, but access to resources not to blame
A study published in Science shows that social status affects the immune system and response to infection
University of Montreal
Social status is one of the most important factors in predicting the risk of disease and mortality in humans and other social mammals. A new study by the University of Montreal, Duke University (USA), and Emory University (USA) published in Science reveals that low social status alone can alter immune regulation, even in the absence of variation in access to resources, health care, and at-risk behaviours for health.
"In short, two individuals with access to the same dietary resources and the same health care and exhibiting the same behaviours have different immune responses to infection depending on whether they have a high or low social status," said Luis Barreiro, Professor in the Department of pediatrics at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center.