Metabolic syndrome components and leukocyte telomere length in patients with major depressive disorder

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2022 Jul;23(6):483-492. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2021.2013091. Epub 2021 Dec 16.


Objectives: The relationship between metabolic syndrome (MetS) components and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) attrition in major depressive disorder (MDD) remains unclear.

Methods: We recruited 70 MDD patients (mean age: 44.6 years, 60.0% female) and 51 age- and sex-matched controls (mean age: 41.2 years, 68.6% female) to examine the associations of MetS components and LTL. Five MetS components-waist circumference, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, serum levels of fasting glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides-were assessed. LTL was measured through quantitative polymerase chain reaction.

Results: MDD had higher prevalence of MetS (34.3 vs. 17.6%, p=.042), low HDL-C (25.7 vs. 7.8%, p=.009) and shorter LTL (-0.038 ± 0.169 vs. 0.033 ± 0.213, p=.042). Regression analysis revealed that MDD (p=.046) and age (p=.003) associated with LTL, while a significant interaction effect of group (MDD vs. controls) × HDL-C (p=.037) was observed. Post-hoc analysis showed MDD with low HDL-C had greater LTL attrition than controls without low HDL-C (p=.020). In MDD, HDL-C dysregulation negatively correlated with LTL (p=.010); but no significance after Bonferroni correction.

Conclusions: HDL-C may be involved in accelerated ageing process regarding metabolic disturbance in MDD only. The relationship merits prospective investigations with larger sample size for clarification.

Keywords: Ageing; HDL-C; depression; metabolic syndrome; telomere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / genetics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Telomere