Springer (part of Springer Nature), European Journal of Epidemiology, 9(29), p. 629-638
Oxidative stress and inflammation are major contributors to accelerated age-related relative telomere length (RTL) shortening. Both conditions are strongly linked to leptin and adiponectin, the most prominent adipocyte-derived protein hormones. As high leptin levels and low levels of adiponectin have been implicated in inflammation, one expects adiponectin to be positively associated with RTL while leptin should be negatively associated. Within the ENGAGE consortium, we investigated the association of RTL with adiponectin and leptin in seven independent cohorts with a total of 11,448 participants. We performed partial correlation analysis on Z-transformed RTL and LN-transformed leptin/adiponectin, adjusting for age and sex. In extended models we adjusted for body mass index (BMI) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Adiponectin showed a borderline significant association with RTL. This appeared to be determined by a single study and when the outlier study was removed, this association disappeared. The association between RTL and leptin was highly significant (r = -0.05; p = 1.81 × 10(-7)). Additional adjustment for BMI or CRP did not change the results. Sex-stratified analysis revealed no difference between men and women. Our study suggests that high leptin levels are associated with short RTL.