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Telomere length and aging biomarkers in 70-year-olds: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936
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Dr Carmen Martin-Ruiz
Professor Thomas von Zglinicki
Harris SE, Martin-Ruiz C, vonZglinicki T, Starr JM, Deary IJ
Neurobiology of Aging
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Telomeres are nucleo-protein complexes at the end of eukaryotic chromosomes. They shorten each time a somatic cell replicates and this shortening is modulated by the effects of oxidative stress. Previous studies have associated telomere length with a number of age-related outcomes and it is hypothesized to be a quantitative indicator of aging. We tested this hypothesis in a cohort of approximately 1000 relatively healthy 70-year-old Scots (the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936: LBC1936) on whom we have measures of cognition, physical health and associated traits, and social class. Telomeres were significantly longer in males than females (p < 0.0001). Longer telomeres were associated, in females only, with higher general cognitive ability scores (p = 0.022) and lower C-reactive protein levels (p = 0.014). Telomere length was not associated with any of the other measured cognitive, physical, or social traits. In conclusion we find little evidence that telomere length is a significant biomarker of normal aging in important cognitive and physical domains.
Harris, Sarah E Martin-Ruiz, Carmen von Zglinicki, Thomas Starr, John M Deary, Ian J Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Jul;33(7):1486.e3-8. Epub 2010 Dec 30.
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