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Association of Longer Leukocyte Telomere Length With Cardiac Size, Function, and Heart Failure.

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Aung, Nay 
Wang, Qingning 
van Duijvenboden, Stefan 
Burns, Richard 
Stoma, Svetlana 


IMPORTANCE: Longer leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with a lower risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The extent to which variation in LTL is associated with intermediary cardiovascular phenotypes is unclear. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the associations between LTL and a diverse set of cardiovascular imaging phenotypes. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This is a population-based cross-sectional study of UK Biobank participants recruited from 2006 to 2010. LTL was measured using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction method. Cardiovascular measurements were derived from cardiovascular magnetic resonance using machine learning. The median (IQR) duration of follow-up was 12.0 (11.3-12.7) years. The associations of LTL with imaging measurements and incident heart failure (HF) were evaluated by multivariable regression models. Genetic associations between LTL and significantly associated traits were investigated by mendelian randomization. Data were analyzed from January to May 2023. EXPOSURE: LTL. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cardiovascular imaging traits and HF. RESULTS: Of 40 459 included participants, 19 529 (48.3%) were men, and the mean (SD) age was 55.1 (7.6) years. Longer LTL was independently associated with a pattern of positive cardiac remodeling (higher left ventricular mass, larger global ventricular size and volume, and higher ventricular and atrial stroke volumes) and a lower risk of incident HF (LTL fourth quartile vs first quartile: hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.81-0.91; P = 1.8 × 10-6). Mendelian randomization analysis suggested a potential causal association between LTL and left ventricular mass, global ventricular volume, and left ventricular stroke volume. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cross-sectional study, longer LTL was associated with a larger heart with better cardiac function in middle age, which could potentially explain the observed lower risk of incident HF.



Male, Middle Aged, Humans, Female, Cross-Sectional Studies, Phenotype, Heart Failure, Leukocytes, Telomere

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JAMA Cardiol

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American Medical Association (AMA)
Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1)
British Heart Foundation (None)
Medical Research Council (MR/M012816/1)
British Heart Foundation (RE/18/1/34212)
British Heart Foundation (RG/18/13/33946)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)