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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Snyder-Mackler 2016.

Social status alters immune regulation and response to infection in macaques

Snyder-Mackler N, Sanz J, Kohn JN, Brinkworth JF, Morrow S, Shaver AO, Grenier JC, Pique-Regi R, Johnson ZP, Wilson ME, Barreiro LB, Tung J. Social status alters immune regulation and response to infection in macaques. Science. 2016 Nov;354(6315):1041–1045. PubMed #27885030.
Tags: inflam-sys, anxiety, chronic pain, mind, pain problems

PainSci summary of Snyder-Mackler 2016?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This study showed that nervous-wreck macaques show clear cellular and genetic signs of inflammation, a direct relationship between altered immune function and chronic severe stress caused by a low social status (subordinate macaques have really tough lives). Dr. Robert Sapolsky:

At the end of the day, being a chronically subordinate nonhuman primate and being a human mired at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale are similar in the most fundamental ways. You have remarkably little control and predictability in your life, your outlets for frustration are limited, and it’s relatively hard to access social support. That’s the prescription for chronic, stress-related maladies.

original abstract

Social status is one of the strongest predictors of human disease risk and mortality, and it also influences Darwinian fitness in social mammals more generally. To understand the biological basis of these effects, we combined genomics with a social status manipulation in female rhesus macaques to investigate how status alters immune function. We demonstrate causal but largely plastic social status effects on immune cell proportions, cell type-specific gene expression levels, and the gene expression response to immune challenge. Further, we identify specific transcription factor signaling pathways that explain these differences, including low-status-associated polarization of the Toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathway toward a proinflammatory response. Our findings provide insight into the direct biological effects of social inequality on immune function, thus improving our understanding of social gradients in health.

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