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Arch Neurol. 2012 Oct;69(10):1332-9.

Association of shorter leukocyte telomere repeat length with dementia and mortality.

Author information

1
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA. lh456@columbia.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Shortening of chromosomal telomeres is a consequence of cell division and is a biological factor related to cellular aging and potentially to more rapid organismal biological aging.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether shorter telomere length (TL), as measured in human blood samples, is associated with the development of Alzheimer disease and mortality.

DESIGN:

We studied available stored leukocyte DNA from a community-based study of aging using realtime polymerase chain reaction analysis to determine mean TL in our modification of a method measuring the ratio of telomere sequence to single-copy gene sequence.

SETTING:

A multiethnic community-based study of aging and dementia.

PARTICIPANTS:

One thousand nine hundred eighty-three subjects 65 years or older. Mean (SD) age at blood draw was 78.3 (6.9) years; at death, 86.0 (7.4) years. Median follow-up for mortality was 9.3 years; 190 (9.6%) developed incident dementia.

RESULTS:

The TL was inversely related to age and shorter in men than women. Persons dying during follow-up had a shorter TL compared with survivors (mean [SD], 6218 [819] vs 6491 [881] base pairs [bp] [P.001]), even after adjustment for age, sex, education, and apolipoprotein E genotype. Individuals who developed dementia had significantly shorter TL (mean [SD], 6131 [798] bp for prevalent cases and 6315 [817] bp for incident cases) compared with those remaining dementia-free (6431 [864] bp). Cox-regression analyses showed that shorter TL was a risk for earlier onset of dementia (P=.05), but stratified analyses for sex showed that this association of age at onset of dementia with shorter TL was significant in women only.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings suggest that shortened leukocyte TL is associated with risks for dementia and mortality and may therefore be a marker of biological aging.

PMID:
22825311
PMCID:
PMC3622729
DOI:
10.1001/archneurol.2012.1541
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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