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Age Ageing. 2014 Mar;43(2):212-7. doi: 10.1093/ageing/aft172. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

Shorter telomere length is linked to brain atrophy and white matter hyperintensities.

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1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umeå University, Umeå 90187, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

leukocyte telomere length (TL) is considered a marker of biological aging. Several studies have investigated the link between leukocyte TL and aging-associated functional attributes of the brain, but no prior study has investigated whether TL can be linked to brain atrophy and white matter hyperintensities (WMHs); two prominent structural manifestations of brain aging.

METHODS:

we investigated whether leukocyte TL was related to brain atrophy and WMHs in a sample of 102 non-demented individuals aged 64-75 years.

RESULTS:

shorter TL was related to greater degree of subcortical atrophy (β = -0.217, P = 0.034), but not to cortical atrophy. Furthermore, TL was 371 bp shorter (P = 0.041) in participants exhibiting subcortical WMHs, and 552 bp shorter (P = 0.009) in older participants exhibiting periventricular WMHs.

CONCLUSION:

this study provides the first evidence of leukocyte TL being associated with cerebral subcortical atrophy and WMHs, lending further support to the concept of TL as a marker of biological aging, and in particular that of the aging brain.

KEYWORDS:

brain atrophy; older people; telomere length; white matter hyperintensities

PMID:
24231584
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/aft172
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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