Cherkas LF, Aviv A, Valdes AM, Hunkin JL, Gardner JP, Surdulescu GL et al.. The effects of social status on biological aging as measured by white-blood-cell telomere length. Aging Cell 5: 361-365

Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology Unit, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK, and The Center of Human Development and Aging, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103-2714, USA.
Aging Cell (Impact Factor: 6.34). 11/2006; 5(5):361-5. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2006.00222.x
Source: PubMed


Low socio-economic status (SES) is associated with a shortened life expectancy, but its effect on aging is unknown. The rate of white-blood-cell (WBC) telomere attrition may be a biological indicator of human aging. We tested the hypothesis that SES is associated with telomere attrition independent of known risk factors influencing the aging process. We studied 1552 female twins. A venous blood sample was taken from each twin and isolated WBCs used for extraction of DNA. Terminal restriction fragment length (TRFL) was measured. Questionnaire data were collected on occupation, education, income, smoking, exercise, height and weight. Standard multiple linear regression and multivariate analyses of variance tested for associations between SES and TRFL, adjusting for covariates. A discordant twin analysis was conducted on a subset to verify findings. WBC telomere length was highly variable but significantly shorter in lower SES groups. The mean difference in TRFL between nonmanual and manual SES groups was 163.2 base pairs (bp) of which 22.9 bp (approximately 14%) was accounted for by body mass index, smoking and exercise. Comparison of TRFL in the 17 most discordant SES twin pairs confirmed this difference. Low SES, in addition to the harmful effects of smoking, obesity and lack of exercise, appears to have an impact on telomere length.

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    • "Stigma increases risk for deleterious mental and physical health outcomes across multiple groups, including racial/ethnic minorities (Paradies, 2006; Williams, 1999), sexual minorities (i.e., individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual) (Meyer, 1995), individuals who are overweight/obese (Muennig, 2008), and those with mental illness (Link & Phelan, 2006). Stigma serves as a chronic source of psychological stress (Clark, Anderson, Clark, & Williams, 1999; Link & Phelan, 2006; Major & O'Brien, 2005; Meyer, 2003a; Pachankis, 2007), which in turn contributes to the development of psychopathology (Brown, 1993; Dohrenwend, 2000) and disrupts physiological pathways that increase vulnerability to disease (Cherkas et al., 2006; Epel et al., 2004; McEwen, 1998). As substantive evidence emerges that stigma represents an important social determinant of health (Hatzenbuehler, Phelan, & Link, 2013), researchers have begun to focus on the appropriate measurement and conceptualization of stigma and related constructs (Clark et al., 1999; Krieger et al., 2010; Lauderdale, 2006; Meyer, 2003b; Quinn & Chaudoir, 2009; Williams, Neighbors, & Jackson, 2008). "

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    • "Increasing evidence indicates the association between the significant telomere shortening of hepatocytes and the replicative senescence of a non-dividing state [4]. Leukocyte telomere length was shown to be positively related to life span, thereby making it a potential indicator of longevity [5]. Recent studies have shown that a number of factors have effects on the telomere length in somatic cells, including low temperature, ultraviolet radiation, smoking, diet, mental stress, inflammation and oxidative stress [6-11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Leukocyte telomere length has been shown to be associated with life span. Hypoxia-associated changes of telomere length have been detected in cell cultures, but no in vivo studies have reported the changes of telomere length under different hypoxic conditions. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of altitude on telomere length in rat leukocytes. Methods One hundred and ten male Wistar rats were randomized into 3 groups and maintained at sea-level (altitude of 10 m) (SL group, n = 10), moderate altitude (2,260 m) (MA group, n = 50), or simulated high altitude (5,000 m (SHA group, n = 50). The last two groups were further divided into 5 subgroups and exposed to hypoxia for 1, 3, 7, 15, or 30 days (n = 10). The leukocyte telomere length, hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell count, hematocrit, and plasma levels of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured. Results Leukocyte telomere length was significantly longer in the MA group than in the SL or SHA groups, and the TERT expression changed in a similar manner as the leukocyte telomere length. However, HIF-1α level was significantly higher in both MA and SHA groups than the SL group. SOD level was decreased and MDA level was elevated in SHA group. Conclusions The telomere length of blood leukocytes is elongated at a moderate altitude, but not at a high altitude. A mild hypoxic state may increase telomere length.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Journal of PHYSIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
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    • "Many studies have shown the association of LE with healthcare and economic development and consistently concluded that IM directly affects LE [11–15], and that LE is closely associated with economic development [16–18]. It has also been reported that LE was affected by various factors, including socioeconomic status, education, and even maternal mortality rate [19–21]. Similarly, the current study found that, globally, the increase in LE from 1990 to 2011 was inversely correlated with the decline in IM and positively correlated with the increase in per capita GNI. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background It is reported that the infant mortality (IM) rate decreased rapidly in China and the life expectancy (LE) also had a high increase. Our objective was to determine the health status of the Chinese population by investigating IM and LE and their inter-relationship. Material/Methods Based on a literature review on the history and current status of IM and LE in China and other major countries, the relationship between IM, LE, and per capita gross national income (GNI) was investigated in 2013. Results The decline in IM from 30% to 15% took China only 7 years, which was faster than in developed countries. The leading causes of infant death in China were perinatal diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, congenital anomalies, accidents, and signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions. Most under-5 mortality occurred during infancy (80%), particularly during the neonatal period (55%). LE was negatively correlated with IM (r=−0.921, P<0.001) and per capita GNI (r=0.778, P<0.001), while IM was negatively correlated with per capita GNI (r=−0.735, P<0.001). However, healthcare capabilities and per capita GNI in China are still below the level of developing countries. Some countries have a comparable IM and healthcare capabilities, but they have a much higher per capita GNI than China. Conclusions In China, IM has decreased and IE increased rapidly. However, they were not in parallel with the current economic development. Deviation of these data might be attributed to many factors. In-house surveys and hospital-based follow-ups should be carried out to better understand infant death.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research
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