Air pollution, ethnicity and telomere length in east London schoolchildren: An observational study.

Environment International
Robert T WaltonJonathan Grigg


Short telomeres are associated with chronic disease and early mortality. Recent studies in adults suggest an association between telomere length and exposure to particulate matter, and that ethnicity may modify the relationship. However associations in children are unknown. We examined associations between air pollution and telomere length in an ethnically diverse group of children exposed to high levels of traffic derived pollutants, particularly diesel exhaust, and to environmental tobacco smoke. Oral DNA from 333 children (8-9years) participating in a study on air quality and respiratory health in 23 inner city London schools was analysed for relative telomere length using monochrome multiplex qPCR. Annual, weekly and daily exposures to nitrogen oxides and particulate matter were obtained from urban dispersion models (2008-10) and tobacco smoke by urinary cotinine. Ethnicity was assessed by self-report and continental ancestry by analysis of 28 random genomic markers. We used linear mixed effects models to examine associations with telomere length. Telomere length increased with increasing annual exposure to NOx (model coefficient 0.003, [0.001, 0.005], p<0.001), NO2 (0.009 [0.004, 0.015], p<0.001), PM2.5 (0.041, [0.020, 0.0...Continue Reading


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