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The age-dependent association between aortic pulse wave velocity and telomere length.

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posted on 2022-12-05, 17:15 authored by Barry McDonnell, Yasmin, Lee ButcherLee Butcher, John R. Cockcroft, Ian B. Wilkinson, Jorge D. Erusalimsky, Carmel M. McEniery

Ageing is associated with marked large artery stiffening. Telomere shortening, a marker of cellular ageing, is linked with arterial stiffening. However, the results of existing studies are inconsistent, possibly because of the confounding influence of variable exposure to cardiovascular risk factors. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between telomere length (TL) and aortic stiffness in well-characterized, younger and older healthy adults, who were pre-selected on the basis of having either low or high aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), a robust measure of aortic stiffness. Demographic, haemodynamic and biochemical data were drawn from participants in the Anglo-Cardiff Collaborative Trial. Two age groups with an equal sex ratio were examined: those aged <30 years (younger) or >50 years (older). Separately for each age group and sex, DNA samples representing the highest (n = 125) and lowest (n = 125) extremes of aPWV (adjusted for blood pressure) were selected for analysis of leukocyte TL. Ultimately, this yielded complete phenotypic data on 904 individuals. In younger subjects, TL was significantly shorter in those with high aPWV vs. those with low aPWV (P = 0.017). By contrast, in older subjects, TL was significantly longer in those with high aPWV (P = 0.001). Age significantly modified the relationship between aPWV and TL (P < 0.001). Differential relationships are observed between aPWV and TL, with an inverse association in younger individuals and a positive association in older individuals. The links between cellular and vascular ageing reflect a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors acting over the life-course. 


Professor Ian B. Wilkinson is a British Heart Foundation Senior Fellow (FS/12/8/29377). Dr Yasmin is supported by the British Heart Foundation (FS/12/8/29377). This work was also supported by the National Institute for Health Research, Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Award.


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The Journal of Physiology




  • VoR (Version of Record)


McDonnell, B.J., Yasmin, Butcher, L., Cockcroft, J.R., Wilkinson, I.B., Erusalimsky, J.D. and McEniery, C.M. (2017) 'The age dependent association between aortic pulse wave velocity and telomere length', The Journal of Physiology, 595 (5), pp.1627-1635.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Barry McDonnell Lee Butcher Jorge D. Erusalimsky

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Cardiovascular Physiology

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  • © The Authors


  • en

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