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Biol Psychol. 2014 May;99:92-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.03.007. Epub 2014 Mar 29.

Race-related health disparities and biological aging: does rate of telomere shortening differ across blacks and whites?

Author information

1
Harvard School of Public Health, United States.
2
Brown University, United States.
3
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, United States; Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, United States.
4
Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, United States.
5
Harvard School of Public Health, United States. Electronic address: lkubzans@hsph.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Recent work suggests that leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a marker of cellular aging, is sensitive to effects of social stress and may also provide early indication of premature aging. Using data from a birth cohort with LTL information at birth and in middle adulthood we examined a potential source of race-based health disparity by testing the hypothesis that Blacks would demonstrate a faster rate of telomere shortening than Whites. Linear regression analyses were conducted and adjusted for pack years, BMI, education and social factors, diet, exercise, marital status, and age. At birth black individuals had LTLs that were longer, on average, than their White counterparts (b=3.85, p<0.01). However, rate of shortening was greater for Blacks, who showed a larger difference in length between birth and adulthood (b=5.10, p=0.01) as compared with Whites, resulting in smaller racial differences in absolute adult LTL.

KEYWORDS:

Prospective follow-up; Race, human; Social disparities in health; Social stress; Telomere; Telomere shortening

PMID:
24686071
PMCID:
PMC4610356
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.03.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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