Psychological stress (PS) is associated with systemic inflammation and accelerates inflammatory disease progression (e.g., atherosclerosis). The mechanisms underlying stress-mediated inflammation and future health risk are poorly understood. Monocytes are key in sustaining systemic inflammation, and recent studies demonstrate that they maintain the memory of inflammatory insults, leading to a heightened inflammatory response upon rechallenge. We show that PS induces remodeling of the chromatin landscape and transcriptomic reprogramming of monocytes, skewing them to a primed hyperinflammatory phenotype. Monocytes from stressed mice and humans exhibit a characteristic inflammatory transcriptomic signature and are hyperresponsive upon stimulation with Toll-like receptor ligands. RNA and ATAC sequencing reveal that monocytes from stressed mice and humans exhibit activation of metabolic pathways (mTOR and PI3K) and reduced chromatin accessibility at mitochondrial respiration-associated loci. Collectively, our findings suggest that PS primes the reprogramming of myeloid cells to a hyperresponsive inflammatory state, which may explain how PS confers inflammatory disease risk..
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