Telomere dynamics in arteries and mononuclear cells of diabetic patients: effect of diabetes and of glycemic control

Exp Gerontol. 2007 Oct;42(10):971-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2007.07.005. Epub 2007 Jul 20.


Telomeres serve as a mitotic clock and biological marker of senescence. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with damage to target organs and premature aging. We assessed the effect of glycemic control on telomere dynamics in arterial cells of 58 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass and in mononuclear blood cells of other diabetic (32 type I and 47 type II) patients comparing well controlled to uncontrolled patients. All were compared to age-dependent curve of healthy controls. Telomeres were significantly shorter in the arteries of diabetic versus non-diabetic patients (p=0.049) and in mononuclear cells of both type I and type II diabetes. In all study groups good glycemic control attenuated shortening of the telomeres. In arterial cells good glycemic control attenuated, but not abolished, the telomere shortening. In type II DM the mononuclear telomere attrition was completely prevented by adequate glycemic control. Telomere shortening in mononuclear cells of type I diabetic patients was attenuated but not prevented by good glycemic control. Results of this study suggest that diabetes is associated with premature cellular senescence which can be prevented by good glycemic control in type II DM and reduced in type I DM.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Mammary Arteries / ultrastructure
  • Middle Aged
  • Telomere / ultrastructure*


  • Blood Glucose