Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes. Are non-coding regions of DNA highly repetitive, the main function of which is the structural stability of chromosomes in eukaryotic cells, cell division and their lifespan.
These are protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. They become shorter with each cell division. Its wear is biological aging marker and may increase susceptibility to age-related diseases.
Telomere length is usually measured in leukocytes. And links to the latest scientific evidence shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with risk of arterial disease ischemic heart disease (CHD) and heart failure. On the other hand, if they are longer, it is associated with greater left ventricular (LV) mass and greater overall ventricular size, as well as better cardiac function and less risk of heart failure (HF).
This was confirmed in a scientific study published last week in JAMA Cardiology experts from the William Harvey Research Institute and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University in the United Kingdom.
The study involved 40,459 people. with a mean age of 55.1 from the UK Biobank, i.e. a large cohort of the population. The researchers accessed data from a group of participants who underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) scans that measured heart structure and function, as well as their recent large-scale LTL measurement in participants that identified genetic variants.
Using DNA from peripheral blood leukocytes, the researchers measured LTL as the ratio of the number of copies of telomeric repeats to the number of copies of a single gene and divided the study participants. After adjusting for differences in age, sex, height, and weight, a positive relationship was found between LTL and left ventricular mass (LVM).
In a similar way, longer leukocyte telomeres have been associated with greater total ventricular volume, larger overall ventricular size based on shape modeling, higher left ventricular stroke volume, higher right ventricular stroke volume, larger left atrial peak volume, and higher left atrial emptying volume. Adjustment for systolic blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and physical activity level attenuated the effect size slightly, but remained statistically significant.
Eminent cardiologist Martin Lombardero, member of the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC) explained information scope of research and implications for improving future treatments.
“Telomeres are the protective “caps” or “caps” found at the ends of chromosomes. As cells divide (and this is due to the inexorable passage of time), cells gradually shorten, and we age. In a simple allegory, we could compare the telomere to the cap of a pen. This pen has the ability to create multiple pens equal to the original. But as more pens are created, the cap that protects the pens gets shorter and shorter. Already in the latest copies, a thin pen nib is exposed, the cap is very short and the pen is no longer suitable, ”explained the expert.
The same thing happens in cells. tender feather is the end of the chromosome, and the cap is the telomere. When telomeres reach a critical length, cells stop replicating (going into senescence) and die (apoptosis). In more scientific terms, measuring telomere length is a way to see and evaluate the ability and history of cell replication or division. As long as we do not get sick, we have already programmed the time of life (in fact, we cannot yet live more than 120 years). From a practical point of view, Telomere length is a marker of aging varies between each of us and it depends on the genetics we carry and how we take care of ourselves,” the expert added.
Meanwhile, the cardiologist Mario Boschis claimed that information than the present the study links chromosome telomere length with data on heart morphology and function.
“Find to their larger size have a heart that has more muscle contraction and ejection of more blood, increasing the performance of the myocardium, resembling, for example, the beneficial changes that we observe in a person with good physical fitness, an athlete or an athlete. Not only that, but a positive relationship has also been found between longer telomeres and a reduced incidence of heart failure in the future. Although this is an observational study with a carefully selected population and it is necessary to determine whether there is an indisputable causal relationship in the results, it is interesting to note that this study uses tools such as artificial intelligence and knowledge gained from telomere biology to draw conclusions that could lead to new avenues in the science of aging and the treatment of heart failure,” said the specialist.
And I add:In recent years, medical science has been especially focused on asking why and how we age, and even more so. how we can intervene to turn back the biological clock. I believe that in the near future, molecular biology will be able to create new therapies that will help treat chronic diseases such as heart failure and coronary heart disease, which today are the main cause of death worldwide, with a subsequent significant increase in life expectancy. For now, my recommendation continue to monitor cardiovascular risk factors and especially to remain physically active even in old age. Today it is within our reach and has been shown to help us live longer and better lives.”
For Lombardero, British work It is very interesting, opens up new hypotheses and is unique in terms of the number of persons being evaluated.. “They measured the length of leukocyte telomeres (where it is usually measured) and compared it with classical measurements of the size and geometry of the heart, such as the volumes of the heart chambers (ventricles and atria), the weight of the heart in grams, and the amount of blood ejected by the heart (stroke volume). ), using the cardiac imaging method that is the gold standard in this type of measurement: cardiac resonance. And they measured it at an incredible number of 40,000 people (drawn from a huge population recruited between 2006 and 2010) with participants ranging in age from 40 to 69, but let us know that due to the sociocultural level, this is a slightly healthier population. than the British population as a whole,” said the expert cardiologist.
And noted:They demonstrated that longer telomeres (i.e. increased protection of the chromosome during cell division) has been associated with very favorable heart conditions and even “similar” to the physiological (normal) adaptation of a sports heart. This was reflected in an increase in heart volume, improved ventricular output and an increase in total body weight (we assume that without pathological expansion of the ventricular wall, in conditions of wall hypertrophy).
“These results are consistent with what cardiologists see in studies with echocardiography, and what was already demonstrated by Dr. Richard Devereux (USA) in the 1980s: a smaller ventricular volume, i.e. a smaller cavity of the left ventricle (the so-called concentric left ventricular remodeling) . ), which, in turn, is often observed in the elderly and hypertensive patients, has a worse long-term prognosis (regardless of arterial hypertension), with a greater likelihood of heart failure. But we did not know about the relationship between smaller ventricular volume and greater telomere shortening.” Lombardero said.
“The interesting thing about Aung’s work is that they link shorter telomeres to the ability to have a heart that pumps out less blood (heart failure) than my body needs. In other words, if I measure telomere length in a 50-year-old man’s blood cell bank, I can interpret that this measurement is associated with deterioration or improvement in cardiac function. But the most interesting thing would be to see how the authors state in the article (supported by a sophisticated and very detailed statistical method) that telomere shortening is the direct cause heart change and hence heart failure. Telomerase is an enzyme responsible for maintaining telomere length. As a hypothesis, if we could act by optimizing this enzyme, telomere shortening would be stopped, and cardiac parameters and previously impaired cardiac function could be improved, ”the specialist concluded.
And ended strong message to the public: “This work will open up future research to answer these and other interesting hypotheses. For now let’s know the only way to stop telomere shortening (and slow aging) has healthy habits with conscious “global” nutrition (I’m not only talking about nutrition in terms of healthy food and being at the right weight, but also about “nutrition” of our body with moderate and constant physical exercise, using means of mental relaxation, not smoking, breathing Clean Air, as much as possible and be less exposed to digital screens.Our telomeres will thank us.”