Assessing the contributions of childhood maltreatment subtypes and depression case-control status on telomere length reveals a specific role of physical neglect



Vincent, J, Hovatta, I, Frissa, S, Goodwin, L, Hotopf, M, Hatch, SL, Breen, G and Powell, TR
(2017) Assessing the contributions of childhood maltreatment subtypes and depression case-control status on telomere length reveals a specific role of physical neglect. JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS, 213. 16 - 22.

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Abstract

Background:Studies have provided evidence that both childhood maltreatment and depressive disorders areassociated with shortened telomere lengths. However, as childhood maltreatment is a risk factor for depression,it remains unclear whether this may be driving shortened telomere lengths observed amongst depressedpatients. Furthermore, it's unclear if the effects of maltreatment on telomere length shortening are morepervasive amongst depressed patients relative to controls, and consequently whether biological ageing maycontribute to depression's pathophysiology. The current study assesses the effects of childhood maltreatment,depression case/control status, and the interactive effect of both childhood maltreatment and depression case/control status on relative telomere length (RTL).Method:DNA samples from 80 depressed subjects and 100 control subjects were utilized from a U.K. sample(ages 20–84), with childhood trauma questionnaire data available for all participants. RTL was quantified usingquantitative polymerase chain reactions. Univariate linear regression analyses were used to assess the effects ofdepression status, childhood maltreatment and depression by childhood maltreatment interactions on RTL. Thefalse discovery rate (q < 0.05) was used for multiple testing correction.Results:Analysis of depression case/control status showed no significant main effect on RTL. Four subtypes ofchildhood maltreatment also demonstrated no significant main effect on RTL, however a history of physicalneglect did significantly predict shorter RTL in adulthood (F(1, 174)=7.559, p=0.007, q=0.042, VarianceExplained=4.2%), which was independent of case/control status. RTL was further predicted by severity ofphysical neglect, with the greatest differences observed in older maltreated individuals ( > 50 years old). Therewere no significant depression case/control status by childhood maltreatment interactions.Limitations:A relatively small sample limited our power to detect interaction effects, and we were unable toconsider depression chronicity or recurrence.Conclusion:Shortened RTL was specifically associated with childhood physical neglect, but not the othersubtypes of maltreatment or depression case/control status. Our results suggest that the telomere-erodingeffects of physical neglect may represent a biological mechanism important in increasing risk for ageing-relateddisorders. As physical neglect is more frequent amongst depressed cases generally, it may also represent aconfounding factor driving previous associations between shorter RTL and depression case status.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 14:53
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 23:10
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.01.031
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3006892