Telomere shortening is associated with COPD and impaired lung function in cross-sectional studies, but there is no longitudinal study. We used data from 448 participants recruited as part of the French follow-up of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. We found no relationship between telomere length at baseline and FEV1 decline after 11 years of follow-up. However, heavy smoking was associated with an accelerated FEV1 decline in individuals with short telomeres, but not in subjects with longer telomeres (p for interaction p=0.08). Our findings suggest that short telomere length in peripheral leucocytes might be a marker for increased susceptibility to the effect of smoking.
- Tobacco and the lung
- COPD epidemiology
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