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Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Jul 19;11(14):5070-5080. doi: 10.18632/aging.102098.

Shortening telomere is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis biomarker in omnivorous but not in vegetarian healthy men.

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Institute of Bioscience, São Paulo State University - IBB/UNESP, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.
Heart Institute (InCor), Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Medical School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, UFMG, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Telomere length is considered to be a biomarker of biological aging and age-related disease. There are few studies that have evaluated the association between telomere length and diet, and none of them have evaluated the impact of a vegetarian diet on telomere length and its correlation with cardiovascular biomarkers in apparently healthy subjects. Therefore, our objectives were to evaluate leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in vegetarians and omnivorous subjects and its association with classical cardiovascular risk biomarkers. From the total of 745 participants initially recruited, 44 omnivorous and 44 vegetarian men apparently healthy were selected for this study and LTL was measured in 39 omnivorous and 41 vegetarians by Real-Time Quantitative PCR reaction. Although telomere length was not different between omnivorous and vegetarians, we found a strong negative correlation between LTL and IMT (intima-media thickness) in omnivorous, but not in vegetarian group. In addition, omnivorous who were classified with short telomere length had higher carotid IMT compared to vegetarians. Our data suggest that telomere length can be a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis in the omnivorous group.


cardiovascular; carotid intima-media thickness; telomere length; vegetarian

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