Researchers from Ohio State University studied mice and found that chronic stress causes changes in the gene
activity in immune cells. This results in the cells being primed to fight an infection that doesn’t exist, causing
inflammation in the body.
When compared with studies of people living in poor areas, the researchers found their blood samples contained
similarly primed immune cells.
Dr John Sheridan from Ohio State University, who is co-lead author of the study, said: ‘The cells share many of the
same characteristics in terms of their response to stress.’
‘There is a stress-induced alteration in the bone marrow in both our mouse model and in chronically stressed
humans that selects for a cell that’s going to be pro-inflammatory.
‘So what this suggests is that if you’re working for a really bad boss over a long period of time, that experience
may play out at the level of gene expression in your immune system.