Telomere length variation in juvenile acute myocardial infarction

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49206. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049206. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) provides a potential marker of biological age, closely related to the endothelial dysfunction and consequently to the atherosclerotic process. To investigate the relationship between the LTL and the risk of premature acute myocardial infarction and to evaluate the predictive value of LTL on the onset of major cardiovascular events, 199 patients from 18 to 48 years old with first diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction were enrolled and were matched with 190 controls for sex and age (± 1 year). Clinical data and coronary artery disease were evaluated at enrollment and at follow up. LTL was measured at enrollment using a quantitative PCR-based method. No significant differences were observed in LTL between cases and controls (p = 0.20) and with the presence of coronary artery disease in patients (p = 0.47). Hypercholesterolemic cases presented LTL significantly longer than cases without hypercholesterolemia (t/s: 0.82 ± 0.16 p = 0.79 and t/s norm: 0.79 ± 0.19 p = 0.01), as confirmed in multivariate regression analysis (p = 0.005, β = 0.09). Furthermore, multivariate regression analysis showed LTL significantly shorter in hypertensive cases than in normotensive cases (p = 0.04, β = -0.07). One hundred seventy-one cases (86%) ended the average follow up of 9 ± 5 years, 92 (54%) presented a major cardiovascular event. At multivariate regression analysis the LTL detected at enrollment did not represent a predictive factor of major cardiovascular events nor it significantly impacted with cumulative events. Based on present cohort of young Italian patients, the LTL did not represent a marker of acute myocardial infarction nor had a predictive role at medium term follow up.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics
  • Diabetes Complications / complications
  • Diabetes Complications / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / genetics
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere Homeostasis*


  • Genetic Markers

Grant support

This work was supported by the Progetto di ricerca sanitaria finalizzata REGIONE PIEMONTE Anno 2008 bis [to AP and GM], by grants from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, Progetti Ricerca Interesse Nazionale [2007 - prot. 20073RH73W_005 to AP], and by a grant from the Human Genetics Foundation (HuGeF) to GM. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of manuscript.