Studies investigating the association between telomere length and diabetes have been inconsistent, and there are few data available investigating the associations of telomere length with diabetes duration and control. We evaluated the relationship of leukocyte telomere length with diabetes, and the relationship of leukocyte telomere length with diabetes duration and poor glucose control among people with diabetes.
We used data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a representative sample of the US civilian non-institutionalized population. In 3921 participants, leukocyte telomere length was measured and diabetes status was determined based on a previous diagnosis, hemoglobin A1c ≥ 6.5 %, or fasting glucose ≥ 126 mg/dL.
The odds ratios (95 % confidence intervals) of diabetes associated with the first, second, and third quartile of leukocyte telomere length, compared to the highest quartile, was 2.09 (1.46-2.98), 1.74 (1.30-2.31), and 1.08 (0.76-1.54), respectively (p-trend < 0.01), in unadjusted models and 0.74 (0.48-1.14), 0.91 (0.61-1.34), and 0.87 (0.59-1.29), respectively (p-trend = 0.20), in multivariable adjusted models. Among participants with diabetes, unadjusted and adjusted leukocyte telomere length was not associated with diabetes duration or glucose control based on an hemoglobin A1c < 7 or < 8 % (all p > 0.05).
In this study of the US general population, leukocyte telomere length was not associated with diabetes status, diabetes duration, or diabetes control.