[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related cognitive decline begins in mid-life and continues with advancing age. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) shortens with age, and inflammation and oxidative stress enhance this process. Shorter LTL is associated with dementia.
The relationship between cognitive function and LTL was investigated in a cross-sectional study of 382 women (mean age 50.6 years, range 19-78), not diagnosed with any form of dementia or cognitive impairment, from the TwinsUK cohort using six tests from the Cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery (CANTAB).
After adjusting for age and estimated prior intellectual ability, we observed significant correlations of LTL with episodic memory and associated learning (PAL, p=0.032), recognition memory for non-verbal patterns (DMS, p=0.007), and working memory capacity (SSP, p=0.003). In pairs of twins discordant for LTL the twin with longer telomeres also had significantly better DMS (p<0.05) and SSP (p<0.013) scores than their co-twin with shorter telomeres. The correlations between these two scores and LTL was significant both in women over the median mean age and in those below the median age, and remained significant after statistical adjustment for potential confounders.
Leukocyte telomere length correlates with a subset of measures of cognitive performance, suggesting that it might be a biomarker of cognitive aging in women before the onset of dementia.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2008 · Neurobiology of aging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mean terminal restriction fragment (TRF) lengths in white blood cells (WBCs) have been previously found to be associated with breast cancer. To assess whether this marker could be used as a test for breast cancer susceptibility in women, TRF length was measured in 72 treated female breast cancer patients and 1696 unaffected female controls between the ages of 45 and 77 from the Twin Research Unit at St Thomas' Hospital, as well as 140 newly diagnosed breast cancer cases and 108 mammographically screened unaffected controls from Guy's Hospital. Mean TRF was also tested for correlation with chromosome radiosensitivity and apoptotic response in the Guy's Hospital patients. After adjusting for age, smoking and body mass index, there was no significant difference in TRF lengths between the treated breast cancer patients and unaffected controls (P=0.71). A positive correlation between age-adjusted apoptotic response and mean TRF in newly diagnosed untreated breast cancer patients (P=0.008) was identified but no significant difference in TRF lengths between breast cancer patients and unaffected controls was detected (P=0.53). This suggests that TRF lengths in WBC, is not a marker of breast cancer susceptibility and does not vary significantly between affected women before and after treatment.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2008 · British Journal of Cancer