Telomerase, telomere length, and coronary artery calcium in black and white men in the CARDIA study

Atherosclerosis. 2012 Feb;220(2):506-12. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.10.041. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether telomerase activity, measured in circulating blood leukocytes, might be associated with prevalent atherosclerosis, or predict future coronary artery disease risk.

Methods and results: We examined associations of telomerase activity levels measured at year 15 in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study with prevalent coronary artery calcium (CAC), progressive CAC at year 20, and incident CAC between years 15 and 20, in 440 black and white men aged 33-45 years. Telomere length was also measured in a subset of participants (N=129). In multivariate-adjusted analysis, higher quartiles of telomerase were cross-sectionally associated with greater odds of prevalent CAC at year 15 (quartile 2: OR=1.32, 95% CI: 0.54-3.23; quartile 3: OR=1.40, 95% CI: 0.60-3.30; quartile 4: OR=3.27, 95% CI: 1.39-7.71 compared with quartile 1, p-continuous=0.012) and progressive CAC at year 20, but telomerase was not significantly associated with incidence of newly detectable CAC. Higher telomerase activity levels predicted greater CAC progression at year 20 among persons with short telomere length; low telomerase and short TL predicted less CAC progression.

Conclusion: Telomerase activity in leukocytes was associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaque, and was also a predictor of advancing plaque among persons with short telomeres.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / genetics*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / enzymology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / ethnology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leukocytes / enzymology*
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomerase / blood*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere Shortening*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Up-Regulation
  • Vascular Calcification / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Calcification / enzymology
  • Vascular Calcification / ethnology
  • Vascular Calcification / genetics*
  • Whites / genetics*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • TERT protein, human
  • Telomerase