Leukocyte telomere length is not associated with mortality in older men

Johan Svensson, Magnus K Karlsson, Östen Ljunggren, Åsa Tivesten, Dan Mellström, Sofia Movérare-Skrtic
Experimental Gerontology 2014, 57: 6-12
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is related to the aging of somatic cells. We hypothesized that LTL is inversely associated with mortality in elderly men. LTL was measured in 2744 elderly men (mean age 75.5, range 69-81years) included in the prospective population-based MrOS-Sweden study. Mortality data were obtained from national health registers with no loss of follow-up. During the follow-up (mean 6.0years), 556 (20%) of the participants died. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, tertile of LTL did not associate with all-cause mortality [tertile 1 (shortest) or 2 (middle) vs. tertile 3 (longest); hazard ratio (HR)=1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.85-1.28 and HR=0.97, 95% CI 0.79-1.19, respectively]. Furthermore, LTL did not associate with cancer (197 events) or cardiovascular disease (CVD, 206 events) mortality (tertile 1 vs. tertile 3; HR=0.94, 95% CI 0.67-1.34 and HR=0.94, 95% CI 0.68-1.30, respectively). The lack of association between LTL and mortality remained also after adjustment for multiple covariates. Our results demonstrate that LTL is not associated with all-cause mortality or mortality due to cancer or CVD in elderly men. Further studies are needed to determine whether LTL can predict the risk of mortality in elderly women.

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