Telomere length correlates with subtelomeric DNA methylation in long-term mindfulness practitioners

Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 12;10(1):4564. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-61241-6.


Mindfulness and meditation techniques have proven successful for the reduction of stress and improvement in general health. In addition, meditation is linked to longevity and longer telomere length, a proposed biomarker of human aging. Interestingly, DNA methylation changes have been described at specific subtelomeric regions in long-term meditators compared to controls. However, the molecular basis underlying these beneficial effects of meditation on human health still remains unclear. Here we show that DNA methylation levels, measured by the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (Illumina) array, at specific subtelomeric regions containing GPR31 and SERPINB9 genes were associated with telomere length in long-term meditators with a strong statistical trend when correcting for multiple testing. Notably, age showed no association with telomere length in the group of long-term meditators. These results may suggest that long-term meditation could be related to epigenetic mechanisms, in particular gene-specific DNA methylation changes at distinct subtelomeric regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Serpins / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism*


  • GPR31 protein, human
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • SERPINB9 protein, human
  • Serpins