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Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Laura Wiley, Dr Carmen Martin-RuizORCiD, Emerita Professor Carol Jagger, Mohammad Yadegarfar, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki

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Abstract

Background: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. Methods: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Results: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Conclusions: Telomere length is longer in females thanmales, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required. (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Gardner M, Bann D, Wiley L, Cooper R, Hardy R, Nitsch D, Martin-Ruiz C, Shiels P, Sayer AA, Barbieri M, Bekaert S, Bischoff C, Brooks-Wilson A, Chen W, Cooper C, Christensen K, De Meyer T, Deary I, Der G, Roux AD, Fitzpatrick A, Hajat A, Halaschek-Wiener J, Harris S, Hunt SC, Jagger C, Jeon HS, Kaplan R, Kimura M, Lansdorp P, Li CY, Maeda T, Mangino M, Nawrot TS, Nilsson P, Nordfjall K, Paolisso G, Ren F, Riabowol K, Robertson T, Roos G, Staessen JA, Spector T, Tang N, Unryn B, van der Harst P, Woo J, Xing C, Yadegarfar ME, Park JY, Young N, Kuh D, von Zglinicki T, Ben-Shlomo Y, Halcyon Study Team

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Gerontology

Year: 2014

Volume: 51

Pages: 15-27

Print publication date: 21/12/2013

ISSN (print): 0531-5565

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6815

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004

DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004


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Funding

Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
0720550-2National R & D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea
AG023629National Institute on Aging (NIA)
HHSN268200800007CNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
HHSN268201200036CNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
HL080295National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC55222National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01-HC-95161National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
HL80698National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01-HC-95165National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95168National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95169National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01HC85079National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC85080National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC85081National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC85082National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC85083National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01HC85086National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
N01-HC-95159National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95160National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95162National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95163National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95164National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95166National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
N01-HC-95167National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
UL1-RR-024156NCRR
UL1-RR-025005NCRR

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