Three-dimensional quantitative imaging of telomeres in buccal cells identifies mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease patients

J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(1):35-48. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130866.


Using three-dimensional (3D) telomeric analysis of buccal cells of 82 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and cognitively normal age and gender-matched controls, we have for the first time examined changes in the 3D nuclear telomeric architecture of buccal cells among levels of AD severity based on five 3D parameters: i) telomere length, ii) telomere number, iii) telomere aggregation, iv) nuclear volume, and v) a/c ratio, a measure of spatial telomere distribution. Our data indicate that matched controls have significantly different 3D telomere profiles compared to mild, moderate, and severe AD patients (p < 0.0001). Distinct profiles were also evident for each AD severity group. An increase in telomere number and aggregation concomitant with a decrease in telomere length from normal to severe AD defines the individual stages of the disease (p < 0.0001).

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; buccal mucosa; fluorescent in situ hybridization; genomic instability; telomeres; three-dimensional image.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / classification
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genomic Instability / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Interphase / genetics
  • Male
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Telomere / ultrastructure*