Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) except MWCNT-7 have been classified as Group 3 [“Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans”] by the IARC. Despite considerable mechanistic evidence in vitro/in vivo, the classification highlights a general lack of data, especially among humans. In our previous study, we reported epigenetic changes in the MWCNT exposed workers. Here, we evaluated whether MWCNT can also cause alterations in aging related features including relative telomere length (TL) and/or mitochondrial copy number (mtDNAcn). Relative TL and mtDNAcn were measured on extracted DNA from peripheral blood from MWCNT exposed workers (N = 24) and non-exposed controls (N = 43) using a qPCR method. A higher mtDNAcn and longer TL were observed in MWCNT exposed workers when compared to controls. Independent of age, sex, smoking behavior, alcohol consumption and BMI, MWCNT-exposure was associated with an 18.30 % increase in blood TL (95 % CI: 7.15-30.62 %; p = 0.001) and 35.21 % increase in mtDNAcn (95 % CI: 19.12-53.46 %). Our results suggest that exposure to MWCNT can induce an increase in the mtDNAcn and TL; however, the mechanistic basis or consequence of such change requires further experimental studies.
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