Association between leukocyte telomere length and serum carotenoid in US adults
Telomere length is a biomarker for aging. It is known that oxidative stress can accelerate telomere shortening, whereas antioxidants can delay their shortening. Carotenoids as antioxidants are favorably associated with health- and aging-related diseases caused by oxidative stress, but their association with telomere length is less certain. We investigated the association between blood carotenoid levels and leukocyte telomere length in a representative sample of US adults.
We analyzed 3660 participants aged 20 years and older in the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The levels of carotenoids—alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), beta-cryptoxanthin, combined lutein/zeaxanthin, and trans-lycopene—were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. The leukocyte telomere length (T/S ratio) was assayed using the quantitative polymerase chain reaction method.
A doubling of blood alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), and beta-cryptoxanthin was associated with approximately 2 % longer telomeres. Compared with the lowest carotenoid quartile of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), and beta-cryptoxanthin, telomere length for adults with the highest quartiles was significantly increased by 5–8 %.
We found that increasing levels of blood carotenoid were significantly associated with longer leukocyte telomeres in US adults. High intake of carotenoid-rich food may play a role in protecting telomeres and regulating telomere length.
KeywordsTelomere Oxidative stress Carotenoid Antioxidant
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Grant Numbers: 2015R1A1A3A04000923, 2015R1D1A1A01059048).
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Conflict of interest
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