Traffic particles and telomere length.
Telomere length reflects biological age and is inversely associated
with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Ambient air pollution is
associated with CVD, but its effect on telomere length is unknown.
McCracken et al. (p. 1564) investigated the association of ambient black
carbon (BC), a marker for traffic-related particulate matter (PM), with
telomere length in never-smoking men from the Normative Aging Study.
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) was measured repeatedly about every 3
years from 1999 through 2006 using quantitative polymerase chain
reaction. BC concentration at men's residences during the year
before each LTL measurement, which was estimated based on a
spatiotemporal model calibrated with BC measurements, was inversely
associated with telomere length. The authors conclude that long-term
exposures to airborne PM, particularly those rich in BC, contribute to