Dr. Bruce has received consulting fees, speaking fees, and/or honoraria from Roche, UCB, Genentech, MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, and Human Genome Sciences (less than $10,000 each).
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Brief Report: Shortened Telomere Length in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus†
Article first published online: 23 APR 2013
Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis & Rheumatism
Volume 65, Issue 5, pages 1319–1323, May 2013
How to Cite
Haque, S., Rakieh, C., Marriage, F., Ho, P., Gorodkin, R., Teh, L. S., Snowden, N., Day, P. J. R. and Bruce, I. N. (2013), Brief Report: Shortened Telomere Length in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 65: 1319–1323. doi: 10.1002/art.37895
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS.
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 23 APR 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 FEB 2013 03:21PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 28 MAY 2012
- Manchester Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility
- Arthritis Research UK Clinical Research Fellowship. Grant Number: 17574
- Arthritis Research UK
- Manchester Academic Health Science Centre
- NIHR Biomedical Research Unit Funding Scheme
- NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre
Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a higher rate of premature death compared to the general population, suggesting a phenotype of premature senescence in SLE. Telomere length can be used to assess overall biologic aging. This study was undertaken to address the hypothesis that patients with SLE have reduced telomere length.
Telomere length was measured cross-sectionally in whole blood from SLE patients and age-matched healthy female controls, using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. SLE-related and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed.
We compared telomere length in 63 SLE patients and 63 matched controls with a median age of 50.8 years (interquartile range [IQR] 37–59 years) and 49.9 years (IQR 32–60 years), respectively. The median relative telomere length in SLE patients was 0.97 (IQR 0.47–1.57), compared to 1.53 (IQR 0.82–2.29) in controls (P = 0.0008). We then extended our cohort to measure telomere length in 164 SLE patients. Shorter telomere length was associated with Ro antibodies (β ± SE −0.36 ± 0.16; P = 0.023), and longer telomere length was associated with steroid therapy (0.29 ± 0.14; P = 0.046). We also noted an association of longer telomere length with increasing body mass index (β ± SE 0.07 ± 0.01; P < 0.0001) and tobacco smoking (0.64 ± 0.26; P = 0.016), as well as with the presence of carotid plaque (0.203 ± 0.177; P = 0.032).
Telomere length is shortened in SLE patients compared to controls and does not appear to be a reflection of disease activity or immune cell turnover. Subsets of patients such as those positive for Ro antibodies may be particularly susceptible to premature biologic aging. The predictive value of telomere length as a biomarker of future risk of damage/mortality in SLE requires longitudinal evaluation.