Telomere length and its associations with oxidized-LDL, carotid artery distensibility and smoking

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2010 Jun 1;2:1164-8. doi: 10.2741/e176.


Oxidative stress is a key factor driving the aging of cells and arteries. Studies suggest that white blood cell (WBC) telomere length is an index of systemic aging. We, therefore, investigated the association between WBC telomere length and oxidized-LDL, and vascular aging, expressed by the distensibility of the carotid artery. We studied a random population sample of 216 non-smokers and 89, smokers. In all subjects, age and gender- adjusted telomere length was inversely correlated with plasma oxidized-LDL (regression coefficient = -0.656 kb/mg/dL; p=0.0006). Independent of gender, age and mean blood pressure, carotid distensibility increased with telomere length (2.33+/- 1.18 10-3/kPa/kb; p=0.05) but decreased with higher plasma levels of oxidized LDL (-10.7+/- 3.91 10-3/kPa/ mg/dL; p=0.006). Adjusted for gender and age, smokers' telomere length was shorter (6.72 vs 6.91 kb; p=0.014) and plasma oxidized-LDL level higher (0.52 vs 0.46 mg/dL; p=0.03) than in non-smokers. Higher level of oxidized-LDL, is associated with shorter WBC telomeres and increased stiffness of the carotid artery. Smoking is marked by increased oxidative stress in concert with shortened WBC telomere length.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / genetics*
  • Telomere*


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein