Comparison between southern blots and qPCR analysis of leukocyte telomere length in the health ABC study

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 May;69(5):527-31. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glt121. Epub 2013 Aug 14.


Only a few studies, primarily limited to small samples, have examined the relationship between leukocyte telomere length (LTL) data generated by Southern blots, expressed in kilobases, versus quantitative PCR data, expressed in the telomere product/a single gene product (T/S). In the present study, we compared LTL data generated by the two methods in 681 elderly participants (50% African Americans, 50% of European origin, 49.2% women, mean age 73.7±2.9 years) in the Health Aging and Body Composition Study. The correlation between the data generated by the two methods was modest (R (2) = .27). Both methods captured the age effect on LTL and the longer LTL in women than in men. However, only the Southern blot method showed a significantly longer LTL in African Americans than in European decent individuals, which might be attributed to the larger measurement error of the quantitative PCR-based method than the Southern blots.

Keywords: Leukocyte telomere length; Quantitative PCR; Southern blots..

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Black or African American
  • Blotting, Southern*
  • Body Composition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / physiology*
  • Male
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Telomere / physiology*
  • White People