Association between telomere length and type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 21;8(11):e79993. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079993. eCollection 2013.


Background: Several epidemiological studies have examined the association between shortened telomere length and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), while the results remained conflicting. We conducted a meta-analysis to derive a more precise estimation of the relationship between them.

Methods: We systematically reviewed the databases of PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science for all studies on the association between telomere length and T2DM. We conducted this study assessed by STATA 11.0. Data were summarized using random-effects or fixed-effects meta-analysis. The heterogeneity and publication bias among studies were examined by using χ(2)-based Q statistic test and Egger's test, respectively.

Results: Nine cohorts consisting of 5759 cases and 6518 controls were selected into the meta-analysis. The results indicated that shortened telomere length was significantly associated with T2DM risk (OR: 1.291; 95% CI: 1.112, 1.498; P<0.001) with heterogeneity (I(2) = 71.6%). When three cohorts responsible for the heterogeneity were excluded, the pooled OR for the remaining cohorts indicated a significant association between shortened telomere length and T2DM (OR: 1.117; 95% CI: 1.002, 1.246; P = 0.045) without heterogeneity.

Conclusion: We found a statistically significant association between shortened telomere length and T2DM.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Telomere*

Grant support

This work was supported by grants from National “973” projects (Nos.2012CB518004), “863” project (No.2012AA02A510), Ministry of Education of China for Outstanding Young Teachers in University (20110142120012), and Key Project of Health Ministration. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.