Leucocyte telomere length and glucose tolerance status in mixed-ancestry South Africans

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Telomeres are DNA-tandem repeats situated at the ends of chromosomes and are responsible for genome stabilization. They are eroded by increased cell division, age and oxidative stress with shortened leucocyte telomeres (LTL) being associated with inflammatory disorders, including Type II diabetes. We assessed LTL in 205 participants across glucose tolerance groups at baseline and after three years in the mixed ancestry population of South Africa which have been shown to have high rates of obesity and T2DM. Baseline and follow-up data included glucose tolerance status, anthropometric measurements, lipids, insulin, γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT), cotinine, and HbA1c. Telomere length was measured using the absolute telomere q-PCR method performed on a Bio-Rad MiniOpticon Detector. No significant difference was detected in LTL across glucose tolerance groups at both time points, including in subjects who showed a deterioration of their glucose tolerance status. There was, however, a significant negative correlation between LTL and age which was more pronounced in diabetes (r = −0.18, p = 0.04) and with GGT (r = −0.16, p = 0.027). This longitudinal study has demonstrated that LTL shortening is not evident within three years, nor is it associated with glycaemia. Further studies in a larger sample and over a longer time period is required to confirm these results.
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Type II diabetes, Leucocyte, Glucose tolerance tests, Hyperglycemia
Weale, C. J., et al. 2019. Leucocyte telomere length and glucose tolerance status in mixed-ancestry South Africans. Cell, 8(5):464, doi:10.3390/cells8050464