Send to

Choose Destination
J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2018 Jun 6:1-6. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2018.1479392. [Epub ahead of print]

The effect of intrauterine growth on leukocyte telomere length at birth.

Author information

a Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism , Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens , Athens , Greece.
b Department of Neonatology , National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, Aretaieion University Hospital , Athens , Greece.
c Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, First Department of Pediatrics , National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, "Aghia Sophia" Children's Hospital , Athens , Greece.
d Department of Animal and Human Physiology, Faculty of Biology , University of Athens , Athens , Greece.
e Division of Genetics , Center of Experimental Medicine and Translational Research, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens , Athens , Greece.



Telomeres are specialized nucleoprotein structures located at the ends of chromosomes, which play a crucial role in genomic stability. Telomere shortening has been proposed as a biomarker for the onset of age-related diseases. This study aimed to determine whether restricted or increased intrauterine growth affects leukocyte telomere length (LTL) at birth.


One hundred sixty-five (n = 165) full-term neonates participated in the study. Fetuses were classified as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR, n = 21), large-for-gestational-age (LGA, n = 15), or appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA, n = 129), based on customized birth-weight standards. Mixed arteriovenous cord blood samples were collected for isolation of leukocyte DNA. The LTL was measured using multiplex monochrome quantitative real-time PCR and telomeric restriction fragments through Southern blot analysis (terminal restriction fragment [TRF]).


Despite differences among groups in birth weight, length and head circumference, LTL did not differ among AGA (6.78 ± 0.58), IUGR (10.54 ± 1.80), and LGA (11.95 ± 2.42) neonates (p = .098). Cord blood IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentrations were higher in the LGA group. LTL positively correlated with birth length (r = 0.176, p = .032).


Intrauterine growth does not seem to affect LTL at birth. Further studies, comprising a larger sample size of IUGR, LGA, and AGA neonates, are required to determine whether growth at birth influences LTL.


Appropriate-for-gestational-age neonates; developmental origins of health and disease; intrauterine growth restriction; large-for-gestational-age neonates

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center