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Telomere Length Not Significantly Associated With Atherosclerosis

LTL, abundance of short telomeres are not independent determinants of atherosclerosis

WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Average leucocyte telomere length (LTL) and the abundance of short telomeres (percent LTL <3 kb) are not significant independent determinants of subclinical atherosclerosis, according to a study published in the May 31 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Juan M. Fernández-Alvira, Ph.D., from Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III in Madrid, and colleagues assessed telomere length by high-throughput quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization in circulating leukocytes from 1,459 volunteers without established cardiovascular disease from the Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis (PESA) study. Coronary artery calcium scan and two-/three-dimensional ultrasound in different aortic territories were used to evaluate atherosclerosis.

The researchers observed an inverse association for age with LTL in men and women; direct correlations were seen for age with percent LTL <3 kb in both men and women. In men, but not women, short LTL was a significant determinant of total and femoral plaque; after adjustment for age or additional adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors this correlation was not sustained. There was no significant independent correlation for percent LTL <3 kb and plaque burden. A direct correlation was seen for serum-oxidized low-density lipoprotein levels with percent LTL <3 kb in men and women.

“Longitudinal follow-up of PESA participants will assess long-term associations between telomere length and progression of subclinical atherosclerosis,” the authors write.

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