Hostility and Cellular Aging in Men from the Whitehall II Cohort

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, United Kingdom.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 10/2011; 71(9):767-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.08.020
Source: PubMed


Hostility is associated with a significantly increased risk of age-related disease and mortality, yet the pathophysiological mechanisms involved remain unclear. Here we investigated the hypothesis that hostility might impact health by promoting cellular aging.
We tested the relationship between cynical hostility and two known markers of cellular aging, leukocyte telomere length (TL) and leukocyte telomerase activity (TA), in 434 men and women from the Whitehall II cohort.
High-hostile men had significantly shorter leukocyte TL than their low-hostile counterparts. They also had elevated leukocyte TA, with a significantly increased likelihood of having both short TL and high TA, compared with low-hostile individuals.
Because telomerase is known to counteract telomere shortening by synthesizing telomeric DNA repeats, particularly in the context of shortened telomeres, heightened TA might represent a compensatory response in high-hostile individuals. The relationship between hostility and disease is stronger in men than in women, and men generally have a shorter life expectancy than women. Our findings suggest that telomere attrition might represent a novel mechanism mediating the detrimental effects of hostility on men's health.

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    • "It has been reported that telomere length is influenced by a wide range of factors such as age, gender, race, smoking, physical activity, socioeconomic status, obesity, multivitamin intake, alcohol consumption, and hormone replacement therapy [2], although findings are inconsistent [9]. In relation to psychological factors, shorter leukocyte telomere length is associated with current life stress [10] and personality traits such as pessimism [11] and hostility [12]. Recent studies have focused on the association between telomere length and early-life environment, and these studies have suggested that adverse experiences such as physical abuse and long institutionalization accelerate telomere length shortening [8,13,14], with inconsistent findings [15,16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background There have been several reports suggesting that adverse childhood experiences such as physical maltreatment and long institutionalization influence telomere length. However, there has been no study examining the relationship of telomere length with variations in parental rearing. In the present study, we examined the relationship of leukocyte telomere length with parental rearing in healthy subjects.Methods The subjects were 581 unrelated healthy Japanese subjects. Perceived parental rearing was assessed by the Parental Bonding Instrument consisting of the care and protection factors. Leukocyte relative telomere length was determined by a quantitative real-time PCR method for a ratio of telomere/single copy gene.ResultsIn the multiple regression analyses, shorter telomere length in males was related to lower scores of paternal care (ß¿=¿0.139, p¿<¿0.05), while that in females was related to lower scores of maternal care (ß¿=¿0.195, p¿<¿0.01).Conclusion The present study suggests that there is linear relationship between parental care and telomere length which covers both lower and higher ends of parental care, and that the effects of parental care on telomere length are gender-specific in parents and offsprings.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · BMC Psychiatry
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    • "This is the first prospective study demonstrating a significant relationship between a personality trait and telomere attrition. All other studies to date have been cross-sectional, and thus have not provided insight into the sequence of events (Damjanovic et al. 2007; Brydon et al. 2011 "
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    ABSTRACT: Telomere attrition, causing accelerated aging, might be one of the mechanisms through which neuroticism leads to somatic disease and increased all-cause mortality. In the current study we investigated whether neuroticism is prospectively associated with shorter telomere length (TL), a biological marker of aging. Method Participants were 3432 adults (mean age 52.9 years, range 32-79). Data were collected at baseline (T1) and at two follow-up visits after 4 years (T2) and 6 years (T3). Neuroticism was assessed using the 12-item neuroticism scale of the Revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R) at T2 and T3. TL was measured by a monochrome multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay at T1, T2 and T3. A linear mixed model was used to assess whether neuroticism could predict TL prospectively after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), frequency of sports, smoking status, presence of chronic diseases and level of education. Neuroticism was a significant negative predictor of TL at follow-up (B = -0.004, p = 0.044) after adjusting for sex, age, baseline TL and various biological and lifestyle factors. High neuroticism is significantly and prospectively associated with telomere attrition independent of lifestyle and other risk factors.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Psychological Medicine
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    • "There is significant work demonstrating the links between psychological traits such as optimism/pessimism (Brummett et al., 2006; Giltay et al., 2004; Maruta et al., 2002; Scheier and Carver, 1987), hostility (Smith et al., 2004; Tindle et al., 2009), and mastery (Mausbach et al., 2007; Pudrovska et al., 2005) with physical health outcomes, including telomere length (Brydon et al., 2011; Epel et al., 2006; O'Donovan et al., 2009). One important candidate pathway linking psychological traits to health outcomes is emotion regulation (John and Gross, 2007). "
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    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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