Telomere shortening occurs in Asian Indian Type 2 diabetic patients.
Telomere shortening has been reported in several diseases including atherosclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Asian Indians have an increased predilection for Type 2 diabetes and premature coronary artery disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether telomeric shortening occurs in Asian Indian Type 2 diabetic patients. Using Southern-blot analysis we determined mean terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length, a measure of average telomere size, in leucocyte DNA. Type 2 diabetic patients without any diabetes-related complications (n = 40) and age- and sex-matched control non-diabetic subjects (n = 40) were selected from the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (CURES). Plasma level of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of lipid peroxidation, was measured by TBARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) using a fluorescence method. Mean (+/- SE) TRF lengths of the Type 2 diabetic patients (6.01 +/- 0.2 kb) were significantly shorter than those of the control subjects (9.11 +/- 0.6 kb) (P = 0.0001). Among the biochemical parameters, only levels of TBARS showed a negative correlation with shortened telomeres in the diabetic subjects (r = -0.36; P = 0.02). However, telomere lengths were negatively correlated with insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (r = -0.4; P = 0.01) and age (r = -0.3; P = 0.058) and positively correlated with HDL levels (r = 0.4; P = 0.01) in the control subjects. Multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis revealed diabetes to be significantly (P < 0.0001) associated with shortening of TRF lengths. Telomere shortening occurs in Asian Indian Type 2 diabetic patients.