Background and objectives: Telomeric G-tails play a pivotal role in maintaining the intramolecular loop structure of telomeres. Previous in vitro studies have suggested that the erosion of telomeric G-tails triggers cellular senescence, leading to organ dysfunction and atherosclerosis. The authors recently established a method to measure telomeric G-tail length using a hybridization protection assay. Using this method, this study investigated whether telomeric G-tail length could be used as a novel predictor for future cardiovascular events in hemodialysis patients.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: A prospective observational study was performed involving a cohort of 203 Japanese hemodialysis patients to examine the lengths of telomeric G-tails and total telomeres and subsequent cardiovascular events during a median follow-up period of 48 months. The lengths of telomeric G-tails and total telomeres were also measured in 203 participants who did not have CKD and who were age- and sex-matched to hemodialysis patients.
Results: The lengths of telomeric G-tails and total telomeres were significantly shorter in hemodialysis patients than in control subjects. Telomeric G-tails, but not total telomeres, were independently and negatively associated with clinical history of cardiovascular disease. During follow-up, 80 cardiovascular events occurred. Total telomere length did not predict cardiovascular events. However, the length of telomeric G-tails was associated with new-onset cardiovascular events (hazard ratio per log luminescence signals, 0.12; 95% confidence interval, 0.12 to 0.50) that persisted after adjustment for age, sex, diabetes mellitus, clinical history of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, use of vitamin D, and serum levels of phosphate and intact parathyroid hormone.
Conclusions: Longer telomeric G-tail length is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events in hemodialysis patients.
Keywords: CKD; cardiovascular disease; hemodialysis; telomere; telomeric G-tail.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society of Nephrology.