Telomere length is shortened in SLE patients.

Author: Haque S, Rakieh C, Marriage F, Ho P, Gorodkin R, Teh LS, Snowden N, Day PJ, Bruce IN.
Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Inflammation and Repair, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK; Department of Rheumatology, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Blackburn, United Kingdom.
Conference/Journal: Arthritis Rheum.
Date published: 2013 Feb 11
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/art.37895 , Word Count: 235

Patients with SLE have premature mortality compared to the general population suggesting a phenotype of premature senescence in SLE. Telomere length (TL) can be used to assess overall biological ageing. We hypothesise that patients with SLE have reduced TL.
TL was measured cross-sectionally in whole blood using real time quantitative PCR in SLE and age-matched healthy females. SLE-related and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed.
We compared TL in 63 SLE patients and controls with a median (IQR) age of 50.8 (37, 59) and 49.9 (32, 60) years respectively. The median (IQR) relative telomere length in SLE patients was 0.97 (0.47, 1.57) compared to 1.53 (0.82, 2.29) in controls (p=0.0008). We extended our cohort to measure telomere length in 164 SLE patients. Shorter telomere length was associated with Ro antibodies (coefficient -0.36 SE (0.16), p = 0.023) and longer telomere length was associated with steroid therapy (0.29 (0.14), p<0.046). We also note an association of longer telomere length with increasing BMI (0.07 (0.01), p<0.0001) and tobacco smoking (0.64 (0.26), p = 0.016) as well as with the presence of carotid plaque (β 0.203 (0.177), p=0.032).
Telomere length is shortened in SLE patients compared to controls and does not appear to be a reflection of disease activity or immune cell turnover. Subsets of patients such as those positive for Ro antibodies may be particularly susceptible to premature biological ageing. The predictive value of telomere length as a biomarker of future risk of damage/mortality requires longitudinal evaluation. © 2013 American College of Rheumatology.
Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Rheumatology.
PMID: 23400670