Background: Chronological aging is one of the major risk factors of cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD); however, the effect of biological aging on CVD and outcomes remain poorly understood. Herein, we evaluated the association between leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a marker of biological age, and CV outcomes. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Ovid Medline, and Web of Science Core Collection for the studies on the association between LTL and myocardial infarction (MI), CV death, and/or CVD risk factors from inception to July 2020. Extracted data were pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis and summarized as risk ratio (RR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) per LTL tertile. Results: A total of 32 studies (n = 144,610 participants) were included. In a pooled analysis of MI and LTL in a multivariate-adjusted model, the shortest LTL was associated with a 39% higher risk of MI (RR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.16-1.67; P < 0.001). After adjusting for chronological age and traditional covariance, we showed a 28% increased risk of CV death in the shortest tertile of LTL (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.05-1.56; P = 0.01). Analysis of the studies that investigated the association between CV risk factors and LTL (n = 7) showed that diabetes mellitus is associated with a 46% increased risk of LTL attrition (RR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.46-2.09; P = 0.039). Conclusions: This study shows a strong association between LTL, a marker of biological aging, and the risk of MI and CV death. Cardiometabolic risk factors contribute to telomere attrition and therefore accelerates biological aging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine