University of Oulu

Williams, D., Palaniswamy, S., Sebert, S., Buxton, J., Blakemore, A., Hyppönen, E., Jarvelin, M. (2016) 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentration and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Young Adults: Findings From the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. American Journal of Epidemiology, 183 (3), 191-198. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv203

25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and leukocyte telomere length in young adults : findings from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966

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Author: Williams, Dylan M.1,2; Palaniswamy, Saranya2,3; Sebert, Sylvain2,3;
Organizations: 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
2Center for Life-Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Centre for Cardiovas- cular Genetics, Institute of Cardiovascular Science, Univer- sity College London, London, United Kingdom
5Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
6Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, United Kingdom
7Centre for Population Health Research, School of Health Sciences and the Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
8South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia
9Population, Policy and Practice, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
10MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
11Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2016
Publish Date: 2019-05-09


Higher vitamin D status, lower adiposity, and longer telomere length are each reportedly associated with lower risk of several chronic diseases and all-cause mortality. However, direct relationships between vitamin D status (measured by circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration), adiposity, and telomere length are not well established. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of associations of 25(OH)D and body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)²) with mean relative leukocyte telomere length (LTL) using data gathered on 5,096 participants from Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 at age 31 years (1997). 25(OH)D was not associated with LTL in either basic or confounder/mediator-adjusted models. BMI was inversely associated with LTL after adjustment for potential confounding by age, sex, socioeconomic position, physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol intake, and use of oral contraceptives (per 1-unit increase in BMI, mean difference in LTL = −0.4%, 95% confidence interval: −0.6, −0.2). The BMI-LTL association was also independent of 25(OH)D and was attenuated slightly, but remained, after adjustment for C-reactive protein, a marker of low-grade inflammation (mean difference in LTL = −0.3%, 95% confidence interval −0.6, −0.1). These findings suggest that vitamin D status is unlikely to be an important determinant of LTL, at least by young adulthood. Inflammation may partly mediate associations of adiposity with LTL.

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Series: American journal of epidemiology
ISSN: 0002-9262
ISSN-E: 0002-9262
ISSN-L: 0002-9262
Volume: 183
Issue: 3
Pages: 191 - 198
DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwv203
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This work was supported financially by the following institutions: the Academy of Finland (grants 104781, 120315, 129269, 1114194, 24300796, and 12926); University Hospital Oulu and Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu (grant 75617); the European Commission (grant QLG1-CT-2000-01643); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US National Institutes of Health (grant 5R01HL087679-02); the National Institute of Mental Health, US National Institutes of Health (grant 5R01MH63706:02); the Medical Research Council (grants G0500539, G0600705, G0601653, and K014536); the Wellcome Trust (grant GR069224); and Diabetes UK (grant 08/0003775). J.L.B. was supported by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship grant (WT088431MA). D.M.W., S.S., and M.-R.J. were supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement DynaHEALTH (633595).
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 129269
Detailed Information: 129269 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
114194 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.