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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 3;8(7):e64762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064762. Print 2013.

Posttraumatic stress disorder and not depression is associated with shorter leukocyte telomere length: findings from 3,000 participants in the population-based KORA F4 study.

Author information

1
Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A link between severe mental stress and shorter telomere length (TL) has been suggested. We analysed the impact of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on TL in the general population and postulated a dose-dependent TL association in subjects suffering from partial PTSD compared to full PTSD.

METHODS:

Data are derived from the population-based KORA F4 study (2006-2008), located in southern Germany including 3,000 individuals (1,449 men and 1,551 women) with valid and complete TL data. Leukocyte TL was measured using a quantitative PCR-based technique. PTSD was assessed in a structured interview and by applying the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) and the Impact of Event Scale (IES). A total of 262 (8.7%) subjects qualified for having partial PTSD and 51 (1.7%) for full PTSD. To assess the association of PTSD with the average TL, linear regression analyses with adjustments for potential confounding factors were performed.

RESULTS:

The multiple model revealed a significant association between partial PTSD and TL (beta = -0.051, p = 0.009) as well as between full PTSD and shorter TL (beta = -0.103, p = 0.014) indicating shorter TL on average for partial and full PTSD. An additional adjustment for depression and depressed mood/exhaustion gave comparable beta estimations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Participants with partial and full PTSD had significantly shorter leukocyte TL than participants without PTSD. The dose-dependent variation in TL of subjects with partial and full PTSD exceeded the chronological age effect, and was equivalent to an estimated 5 years in partial and 10 years in full PTSD of premature aging.

PMID:
23843935
PMCID:
PMC3700974
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0064762
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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