Oncotarget

Research Papers: Pathology:

Test anxiety and telomere length: Academic stress in adolescents may not cause rapid telomere erosion

Yaru Zou, Waiian Leong, Mingling Yao, Xuefei Hu, Sixiao Lu, Xiaowei Zhu, Lianxiang Chen, Jianjing Tong, Jingyi Shi, Eric Gilson, Jing Ye _ and Yiming Lu

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:10836-10844. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14793

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Abstract

Yaru Zou1,2,4,*, Waiian Leong1,2,3,*, Mingling Yao1,3, Xuefei Hu1,5, Sixiao Lu6, Xiaowei Zhu1,3, Lianxiang Chen1,3, Jianjing Tong7, Jingyi Shi8, Eric Gilson1,9,10, Jing Ye1,2,3 and Yiming Lu1,2,3

1 International Laboratory in Hematology and Cancer, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine/Ruijin Hospital/CNRS/INSERM/Nice University, Pôle Sino-Français de Recherche en Sciences du Vivant et Génomique, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

2 Emergency Department, Shanghai Ruijin Hospital North, Shanghai, China

3 Emergency Department, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

4 Dermatology Department, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

5 School of Life Science, Eastern China Normal University, Shanghai, China

6 Xiangming High School, Shanghai, China

7 Exclusive Medical Care Center, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

8 State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Shanghai Institute of Hematology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

9 Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, INSERM, IRCAN, Faculty of Medicine, Nice, France

10 Department of Medical Genetics, CHU Nice, France

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jing Ye, email:

Yiming Lu, email:

Keywords: adolescent, academic stress, test anxiety, telomere shortening, TL of salivary, Pathology Section

Received: August 17, 2016 Accepted: January 11, 2017 Published: January 22, 2017

Abstract

Academic stress (AS) is one of the most important health problems experienced by students, but no biomarker of the potential psychological or physical problems associated with AS has yet been identified. As several cross-sectional studies have shown that psychiatric conditions accelerate aging and shorten telomere length (TL), we explored whether AS affected TL.

Between June 2014 and July 2014, we recruited 200 junior high school students with imminent final examinations for participation in this study. The students were divided into three subgroups (mild, moderate, and severe anxiety) using the Sarason Test Anxiety Scale (TAS). Saliva samples were collected for TL measurement via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).

Students from both a specialized and a general school suffered from anxiety (p > 0.05). A total 35% had severe anxiety (score: 26.09±3.87), 33% had moderate anxiety (16.98±2.64), and 32% had mild anxiety (7.89±1.92). The TAS values differed significantly (p < 0.05) among the three subgroups, but the TLs of saliva cells differed only slightly (p > 0.05): 1.14±0.46 for those with severe anxiety, 1.02±0.40 for those with moderate anxiety, and 1.12±0.45 for those with mild anxiety.

Previous reports have found that AS is very common in Asian adolescents. We found no immediate telomere shortening in adolescents with AS. Longitudinal observations are required to determine if TL is affected by AS.


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