Shortened Relative Leukocyte Telomere Length is Associated with Prevalent and Incident Cardiovascular Complications in Type 2 Diabetes- Analysis from the Hong Kong Diabetes Register
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Research design and methods: Consecutive Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes (N=5349) from the Hong Kong Diabetes Register with stored baseline DNA and available follow-up data were studied. rLTL was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. CVD was diagnosed based on ICD-9 code.
Results: Mean (SD) follow-up was 13.4(5.5) years. rLTL was correlated inversely with age, diabetes duration, blood pressure, HbA1c, urine ACR and positively with eGFR (all P<0.001). Subjects with versus without CVD at baseline had shorter rLTL (4.3±1.2 vs. 4.6±1.2, P<0.001). Of the 4541 CVD-free subjects at baseline, the 1140 who developed CVD during follow-up had shorter rLTL than those remaining CVD-free after adjusting for age, sex, smoking and albuminuria status (4.3±1.2 vs. 4.7±1.2, P<0.001). In Cox regression models, shorter rLTL was associated with higher risk of incident CVD (hazard ratio (95% CI) for each unit decrease: 1.252 (1.195-1.311), P<0.001), which remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, BMI, SBP, LDL-C, HbA1c, eGFR and ACR (hazard ratio (95% CI): 1.141 (1.084-1.200), P<0.001).
Conclusions: rLTL is significantly shorter in type 2 diabetes patients with CVD, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors, and is independently associated with incident CVD. Telomere length may be a useful biomarker for CVD risk in type 2 diabetes.