Telomere length and lung function in a population-based cohort of children and mid-life adults.
Nguyen MT., Saffery R., Burgner D., Lycett K., Vryer R., Grobler A., Dwyer T., Ranganathan S., Wake M.
OBJECTIVE: Telomere length is associated with poorer lung health in older adults, possibly from cumulative risk factor exposure, but data are lacking in pediatric and population-based cohorts. We examined associations of telomere length with lung function in children and mid-life adults. METHODS: Data were drawn from a population-based cross-sectional study of 11 to 12 year-olds and mid-life adults. Lung function was assessed by spirometric FEV1 , FVC, FEV 1 /FVC ratio, and MMEF 25-75 . Telomere length was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction from blood and expressed as the amount of telomeric genomic DNA to the beta-globin gene (T/S ratio). Associations of telomere length with spirometric parameters were tested by linear and logistic regression models, adjusting for potential confounders of sex, age, body mass index, socioeconomic position, physical activity, inflammation, asthma, pubertal status, and smoking. RESULTS: Mean T/S ratio was 1.09 (n = 1206; SD 0.55) in children and 0.81 (n = 1343; SD 0.38) in adults. In adults, for every additional unit in T/S ratio, FEV 1 /FVC and MMEF 25-75 z-scores were higher (β 0.21 [95% confidence interval, CI; 0.06-0.36] and 0.23 [95% CI; 0.08-0.38], respectively), and the likelihood of being in the lowest quartile for FEV 1 /FVC and MMEF 25-75 z-scores was lower (odds ratios 0.59 [95% CI, 0.39-0.89] and 0.64 [95% CI, 0.41-0.99], respectively). No evidence of association was seen for adult FEV 1 or FVC, or any childhood spirometric index after adjustments. CONCLUSION: Shorter telomere length showed moderate associations with poorer airflow parameters, but not vital capacity (lung volume) in mid-life adults. However, there was no convincing evidence of associations in children.