Longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with smaller hippocampal volume among non-demented APOE <tex>$\varepsilon3/\varepsilon3$</tex> subjects
Van Broeckhoven, Christine
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
, p. e34292,1-e34292,5
University of Antwerp
Telomere length shortens with cellular division, and leukocyte telomere length is used as a marker for systemic telomere length. The hippocampus hosts adult neurogenesis and is an important structure for episodic memory, and carriers of the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 allele exhibit higher hippocampal atrophy rates and differing telomere dynamics compared with non-carriers. The authors investigated whether leukocyte telomere length was associated with hippocampal volume in 57 cognitively intact subjects (29 epsilon 3/epsilon 3 carriers; 28 epsilon 4 carriers) aged 49-79 yr. Leukocyte telomere length correlated inversely with left (r(s) = -0.465; p = 0.011), right (r(s) = -0.414; p = 0.025), and total hippocampus volume (r(s) = -0.519; p = 0.004) among APOE epsilon 3/epsilon 3 carriers, but not among epsilon 4 carriers. However, the epsilon 4 carriers fit with the general correlation pattern exhibited by the epsilon 3/epsilon 3 carriers, as epsilon 4 carriers on average had longer telomeres and smaller hippocampi compared with epsilon 3/epsilon 3 carriers. The relationship observed can be interpreted as long telomeres representing a history of relatively low cellular proliferation, reflected in smaller hippocampal volumes. The results support the potential of leukocyte telomere length being used as a biomarker for tapping functional and structural processes of the aging brain.