Keith T. S. Tung 1 , Rosa S. Wong 1 , Hing-Wai Tsang 1 , Gilbert T. Chua 1 , Dicky Chan 1 , Kate C. Chan 2 , Wilfred H. S. Wong 1 , Jason C. Yam 3 , Marco Ho 1 , Clement C. Tham 3 , Ian C. K. Wong 4 , 5 , Godfrey C. F. Chan 1 , Patrick Ip 1 , *
18 May 2021
Atopic diseases can impose a significant burden on children and adolescents. Telomere length is a cellular marker of aging reflecting the impact of cumulative stress exposure on individual health. Since elevated oxidative stress and inflammation burden induced by chronic atopy and snoring may impact telomere length, this study aimed to investigate whether snoring would moderate the relationship between atopic diseases and telomere length in early adolescence. We surveyed 354 adolescents and their parents. Parents reported the adolescents’ history of atopic diseases, recent snoring history as well as other family sociodemographic characteristics. Buccal swab samples were also collected from the adolescents for telomere length determination. Independent and combined effects of atopic diseases and snoring on telomere length were examined. Among the surveyed adolescents, 174 were reported by parents to have atopic diseases (20 had asthma, 145 had allergic rhinitis, 53 had eczema, and 25 had food allergy). Shorter TL was found in participants with a history of snoring and atopic diseases (β = −0.34, p = 0.002) particularly for asthma (β = −0.21, p = 0.007) and allergic rhinitis (β = −0.22, p = 0.023). Our findings suggest that snoring in atopic patients has important implications for accelerated telomere shortening. Proper management of atopic symptoms at an early age is important for the alleviation of long-term health consequences at the cellular level.