Short and long telomeres increase risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Mech Ageing Dev. 2014 Nov-Dec;141-142:64-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2014.10.002. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


Peripheral blood telomere length has been associated with age-related conditions including Alzheimer's disease (AD). This suggests that telomere length may identify subjects at increased risk of AD. Thus, we investigated the associations of peripheral blood telomere length with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), a putative precursor of AD, among Mayo Clinic Study of Aging participants who were prospectively followed for incident aMCI. We matched 137 incident aMCI cases (mean age 81.1 years, [range 70.9-90.8]; 49.6% men) by age and sex to 137 cognitively normal controls. We measured telomere length (T/S ratio) at baseline using quantitative PCR. Compared to the middle T/S quintile (Q3), the risk of aMCI was elevated for subjects with the shortest (Q1: HR, 2.85, 95% Confidence interval [CI] 0.98, 8.25; p=0.05) and the longest telomere lengths (Q5: HR, 5.58, 95%CI, 2.21, 14.11; p=0.0003). In this elderly cohort, short and long telomeres were associated with increased risk of aMCI. Our findings suggest that both long and short telomere lengths may play a role in the pathogenesis of aMCI, and may be markers of increased risk of aMCI.

Keywords: Aging cells; Alzheimer disease; Cohort study; Leukocyte telomere length; Mild cognitive impairment; Population-based.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amnesia / metabolism*
  • Amnesia / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / metabolism*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere Shortening*