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Rejuvenation Res. 2012 Jun;15(3):274-80. doi: 10.1089/rej.2011.1243. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Leukocyte telomere length: a focus on cerebrovascular events.

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Stroke Registry of Dijon (Inserm+Institut de Veille Sanitaire), University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Department of Neurology, Dijon, France.


Telomeres are specialized DNA structures located at the ends of chromosomes. Their length is reduced at each cell cycle, especially when the cumulative burden of oxidative stress is high. The purpose of this study was to determine the associations between telomere length and clinical and biological risk factors in ischemic stroke patients. A total of 215 stroke patients hospitalized in the Dijon, France, stroke unit were prospectively and continuously included from January to September, 2004. The telomere length measured from peripheral blood leukocytes--leukocyte telomere length (LTL)--was determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The results were compared with clinical and biological variables of interest collected at admission to find significant associations. Possible relationships between LTL and stroke subtypes were evaluated. A multiple regression that included all the variables significantly associated (p<0.20) with LTL in univariate analysis and age and subtypes of stroke confirmed a significant association with age (p<0.001), homocysteinemia (p=0,049), and levels of both antiphospholipid antibodies (p=0.019) and triglycerides (p=0.007). Linearity was verified and confirmed for each variable. The subtype of stroke did not significantly affect telomere length. We were able to highlight significant associations between LTL and certain cerebrovascular risk factors in a general population of stroke patients. These associations did not depend on the ischemic stroke subtype.

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