Educational attainment but not measures of current socioeconomic circumstances are associated with leukocyte telomere length in healthy older men and women
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Low socioeconomic status (SES) may be associated with accelerated biological aging, but findings relating SES with telomere length have been inconsistent. We tested the hypotheses that shorter telomere length and telomerase activity would be related more robustly to education, an early life indicator of socioeconomic position, than to current indicators of socioeconomic circumstances. Healthy men and women aged 53–76 years from the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort provided blood samples from which telomere length was assessed in 448 and telomerase activity in 416. Educational attainment was classified into four levels, while household income and grade of employment were measured as indicators of current socioeconomic circumstances. Age, gender, blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking, body mass index and physical activity were included as covariates. We found that lower educational attainment was associated with shorter telomere length after controlling statistically for biological and behavioral covariates. Neither household income nor employment grade was related to telomere length. The association between telomere length and education remained significant after adjusting for current socioeconomic circumstances. In men, highest levels of telomerase activity were found in the lowest education group. We conclude that low SES defined in terms of education but not current socioeconomic circumstances is associated with shortened telomeres. Low educational attainment may be an indicator of long-term SES trajectories, and be associated with accumulated allostatic load resulting in telomere shortening. Education may also promote problem-solving skills leading to reduced biological stress responsivity, with favorable consequences for biological aging. [2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved]
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity;
Steptoe, A., Hamer, M., Butcher, L., Lin, J., Brydon, L., Kivimäki, M., Marmot, M., Blackburn, E. and Erusalimsky, J.D. (2011) 'Educational attainment but not measures of current socioeconomic circumstances are associated with leukocyte telomere length in healthy older men and women', Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 25(7), pp.1292-1298
Dynodwr Gwrthrych Digidol (DOI)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2011.04.010
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The longitudinal relationship between cortisol responses to mental stress and leukocyte telomere attrition Steptoe, Andrew; Hamer, Mark; Lin, Jue; Blackburn, Elizabeth; Erusalimsky, Jorge (Endocrine Society, 2016-12-14)Context: Chronic psychological stress has been associated with shorter telomeres in some studies, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. One possibility is that the neuroendocrine responses associated with ...
Shorter telomeres with high telomerase activity are associated with raised allostatic load and impoverished psychosocial resources Zalli, Argita; Carvalho, Livia A.; Lin, Jue; Hamer, Mark; Erusalimsky, Jorge; Blackburn, Elizabeth H.; Steptoe, Andrew (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2014)Recent work has linked psychological stress with premature cellular aging as indexed by reduced leukocyte telomere length. The combination of shorter telomeres with high telomerase activity (TA) may be indicative of active ...
Oxidative stress, telomeres and cellular senescence: What non-drug interventions might break the link? Erusalimsky, Jorge (Elsevier, 2020-02-13)Telomeres are higher order structures that cap and protect chromosome ends. Telomeric DNA naturally shortens during somatic cell division and as a result of oxidative stress. Excessive shortening disrupts the integrity of ...