Reduced telomere length in individuals with FMR1 premutations and full mutations

Department of Human Genetics, New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island, New York 10314, USA.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A (Impact Factor: 2.3). 04/2012; 158A(5):1060-5. DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35275
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We reported previously that 10 older men (66.4 ± 4.6 years) with premutation alleles (55-200 CGG repeats) of the FMR1 gene, with or without FXTAS, had decreased telomere length when compared to sex- and age-matched controls. Extending our use of light intensity measurements from a telomere probe hybridized to interphase preparations, we have now found shortened telomeres in 9 younger male premutation carriers (31.7 ± 17.6 years). We have also shown decreased telomere length in T lymphocytes from 6 male individuals (12.0 ± 1.8 years) with full mutation FMR1 alleles (>200 CGG repeats). These findings support our hypothesis that reduced telomere length is a component of the sub-cellular pathology of FMR1-associated disorders. The experimental approach involved pair-wise comparisons of light intensity values of 20 cells from an individual with either premutation or full mutation CGG-repeat expansions relative to an equivalent number of cells from a sex- and age-matched control. In addition, we demonstrated reduced telomere size in T-lymphocyte cultures from eight individuals with the FMR1 premutation using six different measures. Four relied on detection of light intensity differences, and two involved measuring the whole chromosome, including the telomere, in microns. This new approach confirmed our findings with light intensity measurements and demonstrated the feasibility of direct linear measurements for detecting reductions in telomere size. We have thus confirmed our hypothesis that reduced telomere length is associated with both premutation and full mutation-FMR1 alleles and have demonstrated that direct measurements of telomere length can reliably detect such reductions.

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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common single gene cause of intellectual disability and it is characterized by a CGG expansion of more than 200 repeats in the FMR1 gene, leading to methylation of the promoter and gene silencing. The fragile X premutation, characterized by a 55 to 200 CGG repeat expansion, causes health problems and developmental difficulties in some, but not all, carriers. The premutation causes primary ovarian insufficiency in approximately 20% of females, psychiatric problems (including depression and/or anxiety) in approximately 50% of carriers and a neurodegenerative disorder, the fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), in approximately 40% of males and 16% of females later in life. Recent clinical studies in premutation carriers have expanded the health problems that may be seen. Advances in the molecular pathogenesis of the premutation have shown significant mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in neurons which may be amenable to treatment. Here we review the clinical problems of carriers and treatment recommendations.
    01/2014; 3. DOI:10.4172/2168-975X.1000119

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