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Race/ethnicity and telomere length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Diez Roux, Ana, N. Ranjit, N.S. Jenny, S. Shea, M. Cushman, A. Fitzpatrick, and T. Seeman. 2009. "Race/ethnicity and telomere length in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis." Aging Cell, 8(3): 251-257.

Telomere length has emerged as a marker of exposure to oxidative stress and aging. Race/ethnic differences in telomere length have been infrequently investigated. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) was assessed 981 white, black and Hispanic men and women aged 45-84 years participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Direct measurement and questionnaire were used to assess covariates. Linear regression was used to estimate associations of LTL with race/ethnicity and age after adjustment for sex, income, education, smoking, physical activity, diet and body mass index. On average blacks and Hispanics had shorter telomeres than whites [adjusted mean differences (standard error) in T/S ratio compared to whites: -0.041 (0.018) for blacks and -0.044 (0.018) for Hispanics]. Blacks and Hispanics showed greater differences in telomere length associated with age than whites (adjusted mean differences in T/S ratio per 1 year increase in age -0.0018, -0.0047 and -0.0055 in whites, blacks and Hispanics respectively). Differences in age associations were more pronounced and only statistically significant in women. Race/ethnic differences in LTL may reflect the cumulative burden of differential exposure to oxidative stress (and its predictors) over the lifecourse.

DOI:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00470.x (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2713110. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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