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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Nov;32(11):2107.e3-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.05.022. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

No evidence of substantia nigra telomere shortening in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Mitochondrial Research Group, Institute of Human genetics, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Telomeres are repetitive tracts of DNA which protect chromosomal integrity. Increased oxidative stress leads to shorter telomeres, which have been associated with several late-onset human diseases. Given independent evidence of oxidative stress and Parkinson's disease (PD), and conflicting reports of the role of telomere length in PD, we measured telomere length in both PD peripheral blood monocytes and in substantia nigra from affected individuals and controls. We confirmed previous findings of a paradoxically longer telomere length in blood from PD patients, but found no difference in telomere length in substantia nigra. Confounding factors provide a likely explanation for the findings in blood, and possibly the reduced frequency of cigarette smoking in PD patients. We conclude that telomere shortening is unlikely to be involved in the pathogenesis of PD.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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