Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 21 pp 22139—22151
Pathogenic load and frailty in older adults: Singapore longitudinal ageing study
- 1 Gerontology Research Programme, Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119228, Singapore
- 2 Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore 138648, Singapore
- 3 Department of Geriatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke QC J1K 2R1, Canada
Received: April 30, 2020 Accepted: September 5, 2020 Published: November 6, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.104076
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2020 Ng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Human evidence for the role of continuous antigenic stimulation from persistent latent infections in frailty is limited. We conducted a nested case-control study (99 deceased and 43 survivors) of participants aged 55 and above in a longitudinal ageing cohort followed up from 2003 to 2017. Using blood samples and baseline data collected in 2003-2004, we examined the association of pathogenic load (PL) count of seropositivity to 10 microbes (viruses, bacteria and mycoplasma) with cumulated deficit-frailty index (CD-FI) and the physical frailty (PF) phenotype, and mortality. Controlling for age, sex, education, smoking and alcohol histories, high PL (7-9) versus low PL (3-6) was associated with an estimated increase of 0.035 points in the CD-FI (Cohen’s D=0.035 / 0.086, or 0.41). High PL was associated with 8.5 times odds of being physically frail (p=0.001), 2.8 times odds of being weak (p=0.010), 3.4 times odds of being slow (p=0.024), and mortality hazard ratio of 1.53 (p=0.046). There were no significant associations for specific pathogens, except marginal associations for Epstein-Barr virus and Chikungunya. Conclusion: A high pathogenic load of latent infections was associated with increased risks of frailty and mortality.