Background: Sex hormones may play important roles in sex-specific biological aging. In the study, we specifically examined associations between circulating sex hormone concentrations and leukocyte telomere length (TL). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1124 Black, 444 Hispanic, and 289 Asian/Pacific Islander women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort. Estradiol and testosterone concentrations were measured using electrochemiluminescence immunoassays; TL was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Results: Women in the study were aged 50–79 years. Estradiol concentrations were not significantly associated with TL in this sample. The associations between total and free testosterone and TL differed by race/ethnicity (Pinteraction = 0.03 and 0.05 for total and free testosterone, respectively). Total and free testosterone concentrations were not associated with TL in Black and Hispanic women, whereas in Asian/Pacific Islander women their concentrations were inversely associated with TL (Ptrend = 0.003 for both). These associations appeared robust in multiple subgroup analyses and multivariable models adjusted for potential confounding factors. In Asian/Pacific Islander women, a doubling of serum free and total testosterone concentrations was associated with a 202-bp shorter TL (95% confidence interval [CI] 51–353 bp) and 203-bp shorter TL (95% CI 50–355 bp), respectively. Conclusions: Serum estradiol concentrations were not associated with leukocyte TL in this large sample of postmenopausal women. Total and free testosterone concentrations were inversely associated with TL in Asian/Pacific Islander women, but not in Black and Hispanic women, although future studies to replicate our observations are warranted particularly to address potential ethnicity-specific relationships.
- sex steroid hormones
- telomere length
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism