Reduced telomere length in neurodegenerative disorders may suggest shared biology

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015;27(2):e92-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13100240. Epub 2014 Dec 26.


Early cell death is a feature of neurodegenerative disorders. Telomere shortening is related to premature cellular senescence and could be a marker for cellular pathology in neurological diseases. Relative telomere length in dementia (N=70), Huntington's disease (N=35), ataxia telangiectasia (N=9), and age-group matched control samples (N=105) was measured as relative telomere copy/single copy gene ratios. Individuals with Huntington's disease had the lowest relative telomere copy/single copy gene ratio (0.21), followed by ataxia telangiectasia (0.31) and dementia (0.48). The younger control group had the highest relative telomere copy/single copy gene ratio (1.07). The reduced telomere length could be indicative of shared biological pathways across these disorders contributing to cellular senescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / classification
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Telomere
  • Telomere Shortening*