OBJECTIVES: Short relative telomere length (RTL) is associated with vascular ageing, inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors. Previous studies have reported an association between abdominal aortic aneurysm and short RTL. The presence of atherosclerosis among patients with aneurysm disease may, however, be a confounder. The aim was to explore the associations between short RTL and aneurysm disease, by comparing patients with isolated popliteal artery aneurysms with those having multiple aneurysms.
DESIGN AND PATIENTS: DNA was retrieved from 183 patients with popliteal artery aneurysm (PAA). They were all examined with ultrasound at the time of blood-sampling, and had a total of 423 aneurysms (range 1-7, mean 2.3/patient).
METHODS: TL was measured with Real-Time PCR, RTL was calculated by comparing with three reference populations.
RESULTS: Patients with bilateral PAAs had a mean RTL of 0.985 vs. 1.038 with unilateral PAAs (P = 0.326). Patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm had RTL 1.035, vs. 0.999 without (P = 0.513). No difference was seen with or without femoral or iliac aneurysms. Fifty-six patients with isolated PAA at surgery and at re-examination had RTL 0.974, vs. 1.033 who had >1 aneurysm (P = 0.308). RTL was not associated with the number of aneurysms at re-examination (P = 0.727, one-way ANOVA). There was a trend towards shorter RTL among active smokers (0.93 vs. 1.04, P = 0.066).
CONCLUSIONS: No association between short RTL and multiple aneurysm disease was found. The previously reported association between AAA and short RTL may be secondary to cardiovascular risk factors, rather than by aneurysm disease.
2011. Vol. 219, no 2, 946-950 p.