Interstitial lung abnormalities are associated with decreased mean telomere length

Eur Respir J. 2022 Aug 25;60(2):2101814. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01814-2021. Print 2022 Aug.

Abstract

Background: Interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) share many features with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; however, it is not known if ILA are associated with decreased mean telomere length (MTL).

Methods: Telomere length was measured with quantitative PCR in the Genetic Epidemiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPDGene) and Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility Reykjavik (AGES-Reykjavik) cohorts and Southern blot analysis was used in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). Logistic and linear regression were used to assess the association between ILA and MTL; Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between MTL and mortality.

Results: In all three cohorts, ILA were associated with decreased MTL. In the COPDGene and AGES-Reykjavik cohorts, after adjustment there was greater than twofold increase in the odds of ILA when comparing the shortest quartile of telomere length to the longest quartile (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.5-3.4, p=0.0001, and OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.4-4.9, p=0.003, respectively). In the FHS, those with ILA had shorter telomeres than those without ILA (-767 bp, 95% CI 76-1584 bp, p=0.03). Although decreased MTL was associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.6, p=0.01) in COPDGene, the effect estimate was less than that noted with ILA. There was no consistent association between MTL and risk of death when comparing the shortest quartile of telomere length in COPDGene and AGES-Reykjavik (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.4-1.7, p=0.6, and HR 1.2, 95% CI 0.6-2.2, p=0.5, respectively).

Conclusion: ILA are associated with decreased MTL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / genetics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive*
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed