High perceived stress in women is linked to oxidation, inflammation and immunosenescence

  • Irene Martínez de Toda
  • Lara Miguélez
  • León Siboni
  • Carmen Vida
  • Mónica De la FuenteEmail author
Research Article


Chronic stress situations lead to an impairment of immune response and higher oxidative and inflammatory stress, which are important underlying mechanisms of the ageing process. However, given that the physiological stress response depends on the subjective appraisal of a given stressor, the aim of the study was to investigate the effect that different degrees of perceived stress have, regardless of their type, on immune functions, oxidative and inflammatory stress and ageing rate of women (30–50 years old). For that purpose, a group of 49 women was classified, according to their scores obtained in the perceived stress scale (PSS), into low (n = 23), moderate (n = 14) and high (n = 12) degree of perceived stress. The immune functions studied were: neutrophil and lymphocyte chemotaxis, neutrophil phagocytic capacity, natural killer activity, lymphoproliferation and LPS-stimulated cytokine release. Basal cytokine release was studied as an inflammatory stress marker. Antioxidant (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and reductase activities, and reduced glutathione) and oxidant compounds (oxidized glutathione and malondialdehyde) were also investigated in whole blood as markers of oxidative stress. The results show that, in general, women with a moderate or high degree of perceived stress have a worse immune functionality and higher oxidative and inflammatory stress compared to women with low stress perception. In addition, a positive correlation was found between PSS scores and the biological age of each woman (P ≤ 0.001). In conclusion, high levels of perceived stress in women are associated with a higher oxidative and inflammatory stress and immunosenescence, which seem to accelerate their ageing rate.


Stress perception Immunosenescence Oxidative stress Inflammatory stress Biological age 



This work was supported by Grants of FIS (PI15/01787) from the ISCIII-FEDER of the European Union and of UCM-Research Group.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Martínez de Toda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lara Miguélez
    • 1
  • León Siboni
    • 1
  • Carmen Vida
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mónica De la Fuente
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Physiology and Microbiology (Unit of Animal Physiology), Faculty of BiologyComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  2. 2.Institute of Biomedical Research Hospital 12 Octubre (imas12)MadridSpain

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