Objectives: Peripheral leucocyte telomere length has been suggested to be inversely associated with hypertension risk. Both telomere length and hypertension risk can be modified by certain dietary factors, such as fruit and vegetables. This study was to examine the potential effect of these dietary factors on the association between telomere length and hypertension risk. Study design: A community-based case-control study. Participants: 271 hypertensive patients and 455 normotensive controls aged 40-70 years and living in Yinzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Outcome measures: Peripheral leucocyte relative telomere length (RTL) was measured using quantitative real-time PCR. Dietary intake was assessed by a brief semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. The association between RTL and hypertension risk was analysed using logistic regression, and the modulatory effect of dietary intake on RTL-related hypertension risk was analysed using likelihood ratio tests. Results: Among controls, longer age-adjusted RTL was associated with higher vegetable intake (p=0.01). Individuals with longer age-adjusted RTL (based on median value) were 30% less likely to have hypertension (OR=0.70, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.96; p=0.03). The observed RTL-hypertension relationship appeared to be modified by vegetable intake-longer RTL was significantly associated with lower hypertension risk only in those with greater vegetable consumption (OR=0.28, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.57; p<0.001), but not in those with lower vegetable intake (P-interaction=0.008). Conclusions: Certain dietary factors might modify telomere-related hypertension risk.
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