Advertisement

Leukocyte Telomere Length Is Associated with Risk for Heart Disease

Summary and Comment |
July 24, 2014

Leukocyte Telomere Length Is Associated with Risk for Heart Disease

  1. Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP

People with the shortest telomeres had the highest risk for adverse coronary events.

  1. Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP

Telomeres are structures at the end of chromosomes that shorten with each cell division, and telomere length is a marker for biological aging. Because telomere length varies among different people of the same chronological age, investigators performed this meta-analysis to assess the association between leukocyte telomere length and risk for cardiovascular (CV) disease.

Researchers identified 12 retrospective and 12 prospective studies (44,000 participants overall) in which leukocyte telomere length and adverse CV-related or cerebrovascular-related outcomes were reported. Participants were divided into three groups by telomere length. Compared with people in the longest telomere group, those in the shortest telomere group had significantly higher risk for coronary heart disease in both prospective and retrospective studies (overall relative risk, 1.5). Similar results were obtained in meta-analyses restricted to studies that were adjusted for conventional CV risk factors. Compared with people in the longest telomere group, people in the shortest telomere group had excess risk for cerebrovascular disease in all studies combined (RR, 1.4), but not in prospective studies alone.

Comment

In this study, leukocyte telomere length was associated inversely with risk for heart disease. However, the results do not establish causality; shortening telomere length might only reflect biological aging, rather than cause it. Furthermore, we don't know whether measuring telomere length is a clinically useful predictor of disease risk.

  • Disclosures for Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP at time of publication Consultant / advisory board Boston Scientific (Patient Safety Advisory Board) Leadership positions in professional societies American Osler Society (Vice President)

Citation(s):

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement