“Survivors of extreme adverse events, including natural disasters, often exhibit chronic inflammation and early onset of age-related diseases. Adversity may therefore accelerate aging via the immune system, which is sensitive to lived experiences. We tested if experiencing a hurricane was associated with immune gene expression in a population of free-ranging macaques. Exposure to Hurricane Maria broadly recapitulated age-associated molecular changes, including disruptions of protein folding genes, greater inflammatory immune cell marker gene expression, and older biological aging by an average of 2 y—approximately 7 to 8 y of the human lifespan. Together, our findings suggest that experiencing an extreme hurricane is associated with alterations in immune cell gene regulation similar to aging, potentially accelerating aspects of the aging process.”
Watowich MM, Chiou KL, Montague MJ; Cayo Biobank Research Unit, Simons ND, Horvath JE, Ruiz-Lambides AV, Martínez MI, Higham JP, Brent LJN, Platt ML, Snyder-Mackler N. Natural disaster and immunological aging in a nonhuman primate. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Feb 22;119(8):e2121663119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2121663119. PMID: 35131902; PMCID: PMC8872742.