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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/29958

Title: Early Biological Aging and Fetal Exposure to High and Low Ambient Temperature:A Birth Cohort Study
Authors: Martens, Dries S.
Plusquin, Michelle
Cox, Bianca
Nawrot, Tim S.
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Environmental health perspectives, 127(11) (Art N° 117001)
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although studies have provided estimates of premature mortality to either heat or cold in adult populations, and fetal exposure to ambient temperature may be associated with life expectancy, the effects of temperature on aging in early life have not yet been studied. Telomere length (TL) is a marker of biological aging, and a short TL at birth may predict lifespan and disease susceptibility later in life. OBJECTIVES: We studied to what extent prenatal ambient temperature exposure is associated with newborn TL. METHODS: In the ENVIRONAGE (ENVIRonmental influence ON early AGEing) birth cohort in Flanders, Belgium, we measured cord blood and placental TL in 1,103 mother–newborn pairs (singletons with ≥36 wk of gestation) using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method. We associated newborn TL with average weekly exposure to ambient temperature using distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNMs) while controlling for potential confounders. Double-threshold DLNMs were used to estimate cold and heat thresholds and the linear associations between temperature and TL below the cold threshold and above the heat threshold. RESULTS: Prenatal temperature exposure above the heat threshold (19.5°C) was associated with shorter cord blood TL. The association with a 1°C increase in temperature was strongest at week 36 of gestation and resulted in a 3.29% [95% confidence interval (CI): −4:67, −1:88] shorter cord blood TL. Consistently, prenatal temperature exposure below the cold threshold (5.0°C) was associated with longer cord blood TL. The association with a 1°C decrease in temperature was strongest at week 10 of gestation with 0.72% (95% CI: 0.46, 0.97) longer cord blood TL. DISCUSSION: Our study supports potential effects of prenatal temperature exposure on longevity and disease susceptibility later in life. Future climate scenarios might jeopardize the potential molecular longevity of future generations from birth onward.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/29958
DOI: 10.1289/EHP5153
ISSN: 0091-6765
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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