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Shortened Infant Telomere Length Is Associated with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Children at Age Two Years: A Birth Cohort Study

journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-21, 00:00 authored by C Pham, R Vryer, M O’hely, T Mansell, D Burgner, F Collier, C Symeonides, M L K Tang, Peter VuillerminPeter Vuillermin, Lawrence GrayLawrence Gray, R Saffery, A L Ponsonby
Environmental factors can accelerate telomere length (TL) attrition. Shortened TL is linked to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in school-aged children. The onset of ADHD occurs as early as preschool-age, but the TL-ADHD association in younger children is unknown. We investigated associations between infant TL and ADHD symptoms in children and assessed environmental factors as potential confounders and/or mediators of this association. Relative TL was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in cord and 12-month blood in the birth cohort study, the Barwon Infant Study. Early life environmental factors collected antenatally to two years were used to measure confounding. ADHD symptoms at age two years were evaluated by the Child Behavior Checklist Attention Problems (AP) and the Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems (ADHP). Associations between early life environmental factors on TL or ADHD symptoms were assessed using multivariable regression models adjusted for relevant factors. Telomere length at 12 months (TL12), but not at birth, was inversely associated with AP (β = −0.56; 95% CI (−1.13, 0.006); p = 0.05) and ADHP (β = −0.66; 95% CI (−1.11, −0.21); p = 0.004). Infant secondhand smoke exposure at one month was independently associated with shorter TL12 and also higher ADHD symptoms. Further work is needed to elucidate the mechanisms that influence TL attrition and early neurodevelopment.

History

Journal

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Volume

23

Issue

9

Article number

4601

Pagination

1 - 20

Publisher

MDPI AG

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

1661-6596

eISSN

1422-0067

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal