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Telomere length and aging biomarkers in 70-year-olds: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Carmen Martin-RuizORCiD, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki


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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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harris SE, Martin-Ruiz C, vonZglinicki T, Starr JM, Deary IJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurobiology of Aging

Year: 2012

Volume: 33

Issue: 7

Pages: 1486.e3-1486.e8

Print publication date: 30/12/2010

ISSN (print): 0197-4580

ISSN (electronic): 1558-1497

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.11.013

PubMed id: 21194798

Notes: 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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