Longevity factor klotho and chronic psychological stress

Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 16;5(6):e585. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.81.


Chronic psychological stress is associated with accelerated aging and premature morbidity and mortality; however, the biology linking chronic psychological stress and its maladaptive effects remains largely unknown. Klotho is a pleiotropic hormone that regulates the aging process and promotes better brain and body health. Whether klotho is linked to psychosocial stress or its negative impact in humans has not been investigated. To address this gap, we recruited 178 healthy women who were either chronically high-stress maternal caregivers for a child with autism spectrum disorder (n = 90) or low-stress control mothers of a typically developing child (n = 88). We found that women under high chronic stress displayed significantly lower levels of the longevity hormone klotho compared with low-stress controls (t(176) = 2.92, P = 0.004; d = 0.44), and the decrease among those under high stress was age-dependent. In addition, high-stress caregivers who reported more depressive symptoms displayed even lower klotho levels compared with low-stress participants. These findings provide the first evidence that klotho levels are sensitive to psychosocial stressors and raise the possibility that klotho may serve as a novel biological link connecting stress, depression and risk for accelerated disease development. Furthermore, these findings have important implications for understanding the plasticity of the aging process and may represent a therapeutic target for mitigating the deleterious effects of chronic psychological stress on health and well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / blood*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Glucuronidase / blood*
  • Humans
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Longevity*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Glucuronidase
  • Klotho Proteins