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Systematic and Cell Type-Specific Telomere Length Changes in Subsets of Lymphocytes.

  • Author(s): Lin, Jue;
  • Cheon, Joshua;
  • Brown, Rashida;
  • Coccia, Michael;
  • Puterman, Eli;
  • Aschbacher, Kirstin;
  • Sinclair, Elizabeth;
  • Epel, Elissa;
  • Blackburn, Elizabeth H
  • et al.
Abstract

Telomeres, the protective DNA-protein complexes at the ends of linear chromosomes, are important for genome stability. Leukocyte or peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) telomere length is a potential biomarker for human aging that integrates genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors and is associated with mortality and risks for major diseases. However, only a limited number of studies have examined longitudinal changes of telomere length and few have reported data on sorted circulating immune cells. We examined the average telomere length (TL) in CD4+, CD8+CD28+, and CD8+CD28- T cells, B cells, and PBMCs, cross-sectionally and longitudinally, in a cohort of premenopausal women. We report that TL changes over 18 months were correlated among these three T cell types within the same participant. Additionally, PBMC TL change was also correlated with those of all three T cell types, and B cells. The rate of shortening for B cells was significantly greater than for the three T cell types. CD8+CD28- cells, despite having the shortest TL, showed significantly more rapid attrition when compared to CD8+CD28+ T cells. These results suggest systematically coordinated, yet cell type-specific responses to factors and pathways contribute to telomere length regulation.

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