Is telomere length a biomarker for aging: cross-sectional evidence from the west of Scotland?

Der, G. , Batty, G.D., Benzeval, M., Deary, I.J., Green, M.J. , McGlynn, L., McIntyre, A., Robertson, T. and Shiels, P.G. (2012) Is telomere length a biomarker for aging: cross-sectional evidence from the west of Scotland? PLoS ONE, 7(9), e45166. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045166) (PMID:23028820) (PMCID:PMC3454419)

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Abstract

Background <p> The search for biomarkers of aging (BoAs) has been largely unsuccessful to-date and there is widespread skepticism about the prospects of finding any that satisfy the criteria developed by the American Federation of Aging Research. This may be because the criteria are too strict or because a composite measure might be more appropriate. Telomere length has attracted a great deal of attention as a candidate BoA. We investigate whether it meets the criteria to be considered as a single biomarker of aging, and whether it makes a useful contribution to a composite measure. </p> Methodology/Principal Findings <p> Using data from a large population based study, we show that telomere length is associated with age, with several measures of physical and cognitive functioning that are related to normal aging, and with three measures of overall health. In the majority of cases, telomere length adds predictive power to that of age, although it was not nearly as good a predictor overall. We used principal components analysis to form two composites from the measures of functioning, one including telomere length and the other not including it. These composite BoAs were better predictors of the health outcomes than chronological age. There was little difference between the two composites. </p> Conclusions <p> Telomere length does not satisfy the strict criteria for a BoA, but does add predictive power to that of chronological age. Equivocal results from previous studies might be due to lack of power or the choice of measures examined together with a focus on single biomarkers. Composite biomarkers of aging have the potential to outperform age and should be considered for future research in this area.</p>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Der, Mr Geoffrey and Green, Dr Michael and Robertson, Dr Anthony and Benzeval, Dr Michaela and Macintyre, Mr Alan and Shiels, Professor Paul and McGlynn, Dr Liane and Batty, Dr G
Authors: Der, G., Batty, G.D., Benzeval, M., Deary, I.J., Green, M.J., McGlynn, L., McIntyre, A., Robertson, T., and Shiels, P.G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Published Online:24 September 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 The Authors
First Published:First published in PloS ONE 7(9):e45166
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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