Abstract 07: Perceptions of Neighborhood Environment are Associated with Shorter Telomere Length in African American Women
Objectives: Telomere length (TL) is increasingly being used as a biomarker of cellular aging and age-related cardiovascular diseases (CVD), but the associations between perceptions of neighborhood environment and TL among African Americans is understudied. This study examined whether perceptions of neighborhood environment were associated with TL in African Americans after adjustment for potential confounders.
Methods: Data was obtained from the Minority Health Genomics and Translational Research Bio-Repository Database (MH-GRID) study recruited from April 2012 and September 2013. 252 (170 women and 82 men) African Americans aged 30 to 55 years were included. TL was measured from peripheral blood mononuclear cells using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Perceptions of neighborhood environment were assessed using a 12- item scale administered to study participants. The items were summed and averaged to create a score index representing social cohesion, problems and overall unfavorable perception of neighborhood environment. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the associations of perceptions of neighborhood environment with TL.
Results: On average, women had significantly longer TL than men (4868.6 vs. 4574.8 base pairs, p=0.01). After controlling for socio-demographic variables, and CVD and psychosocial risk factors, a one standard deviation (SD) increase in perception of neighborhood problems was associated with shorter TL (mean difference[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]=[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]-106 base pairs; standard error (SE)=42, p[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]=[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]0.014) among women. Overall unfavorable perception of neighborhood environment was also associated with shorter TL among women (mean difference[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]=[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]-80; SE=38, p=[[Unable to Display Character:  ]]0.034). Better perception of social cohesion was associated with longer TL, but did not reach statistical significance (mean difference = 32, SE=29, p=0.282). No consistent association was observed between perceptions of neighborhood environment and TL among men.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that perceptions of neighborhood environment may be predictive of cellular aging in African American women. Future longitudinal studies are needed to better determine the causal mechanisms underlying these associations.
Author Disclosures: S.Y. Gebreab: None. P. Riestra: None. R.J. Khan: None. R. Xu: None. A. Gaye: None. S.K. Davis: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.