Abstract 17999: Unhealthy Lifestyle in Relation to Peripheral Leukocyte Telomere Length in Postmenopausal Women
Introduction: Lifestyle factors that affect oxidative stress and inflammatory responses may influence the rate of telomere attrition, as reflected by leukocyte telomere length (TL), which may be related to chronic diseases of aging, such as cardiovascular disease. Hypothesis: We examined the hypothesis that unhealthy lifestyle may shorten TL in postmenopausal women.
Methods: In 2,360 apparently healthy postmenopausal women who served as controls in a nested case-control study of diabetes in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), baseline peripheral leukocyte TL was measured by quantitative PCR. Lifestyle factors (including smoking, alcohol intake, obesity, physical activity, and fruits/vegetables intake) were assessed by questionnaires at baseline. A healthy lifestyle score was calculated incorporating all the five lifestyle factors. General linear models were used to estimate TL differences between groups that were defined by lifestyle variables.
Results: TL decreased steadily with age at a mean rate of 25.5bp per year. Compared with never smokers [mean TL: 4.20kb; 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.12-4.28kb], women who had ever smoked had shorter TL (mean: 4.11kb; 95%CI: 4.01-4.21kb). One pack-year of smoking was associated with an additional 4.4bp of telomere attrition on average (P=0.025). Both greater frequency and quantity of alcohol drinking were associated with shorter TL. On average, one gram per day of alcohol intake was associated with 9bp additional telomere attrition (P=0.002). In addition, women with waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) less than 0.85 had significantly longer TL (mean: 4.18kb; 95%CI: 4.10-4.25kb) compared with those with WHR>0.85 (mean: 4.02kb; 95%CI: 3.90-4.15kb). No significant association was found between physical activity, fruit/vegetable intake, and TL. As a comprehensive assessment of healthy lifestyle, a higher healthy lifestyle score was associated with longer TL: mean TL was 3.64kb for the women with lowest score (95%CI: 3.00-4.28kb) and 4.24kb for those with highest score (95%CI: 3.84-4.63kb).
Conclusions: Tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, and central obesity are strong correlates of telomere attrition in peripheral leukocytes among postmenopausal women.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.