Background: The gene variant Pro/Ala (rs1801282) in the PPARγ2 has been associated with lower cardiovascular risk and greater benefit from lifestyle interventions. This polymorphism also seems to be associated with longer lifespan, but no information on telomere length (TL) is available. Our aim was to study the association between the Ala allele and changes in TL in high cardiovascular risk subjects and the potential interaction with a Mediterranean dietary pattern.
Methods and results: A total of 521 subjects (55-80 years) participating in the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea randomized trial were genotyped. Changes in TL, measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), were assessed over 5 years of a nutritional intervention, which promoted adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet). Interestingly, Ala carriers showed lower telomere shortening after 5 years compared with the Pro/Pro genotype (P=0.031). This association was modulated by MeDiet because those Ala carriers who reported better conformity to the MeDiet exhibited increased TL (P<0.001). Moreover, a reduction in carbohydrate intake (≤9.5 g/d) resulted in increased TL among Ala carriers. Notably, an apparent gene-diet interaction was found through the observed changes in the MUFA+PUFA/carbohydrates ratio: as this ratio increased, TL lengthening was detected to a greater extent in the Ala carriers compared with the Pro/Pro subjects (P for interaction <0.001).
Conclusions: The Pro12Ala polymorphism is associated with TL homeostasis after 5 years follow-up in subjects at high cardiovascular risk. In addition, a higher adherence to the MeDiet pattern strengthens the prevention of telomere shortening among Ala carriers.
Clinical trial registration: www.controlled-trials.com; Unique Identifier: ISRCTN35739639.
Keywords: diet; genetic polymorphism; nutrigenomics; telomere.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.