Sex-Specific and Time-Varying Associations Between Cigarette Smoking and Telomere Length Among Older Adults.

TitleSex-Specific and Time-Varying Associations Between Cigarette Smoking and Telomere Length Among Older Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsZhang, C, Lauderdale, DS, Pierce, BL
JournalAm J Epidemiol
Date Published2016 12 15
ISSN Number1476-6256
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Biomarkers, DNA, Female, Health Status, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Oxidative stress, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Prospective Studies, Saliva, Sex Distribution, Smoking, Smoking cessation, Telomere Shortening

Inconsistent associations between smoking and telomere length (TL) have been reported in epidemiologic studies, perhaps because of the time-varying nature of smoking behaviors. We estimated the associations of TL, which was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction using saliva DNA, with concurrent and past smoking status reported biennially for up to 16 years before TL measurement in 5,624 participants in the Health and Retirement Study (1992-2008). Smoking was associated with reduced TL when we used prospective data on smoking statuses among men and women, but the association was strongly attenuated among men in cross-sectional analyses. This attenuation was largely due to a higher rate of smoking cessation during the study period among men with shorter TL than among men with longer TL. Short TL was also associated with poorer overall health in men, which suggests that male smokers with short TL were more likely to quit smoking because of poor health. Analyses of years since cessation, smoking duration, and pack-years of smoking all support the hypothesis that increased cigarette use shortens TL. Our results provide a potential explanation for the inconsistent associations between smoking and TL reported in previous cross-sectional studies. Time-varying associations should be considered in future studies of smoking behavior, TL, aging, and disease risk.

User Guide Notes

Short TitleAm. J. Epidemiol.
Alternate JournalAm. J. Epidemiol.
Citation Key8819
PubMed ID27856448
PubMed Central IDPMC5161083
Grant ListP30 AG012857 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 ES020506 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000243 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 HG007601 / HG / NHGRI NIH HHS / United States