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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • dementia with Lewy bodies;
  • oxidative stress;
  • Parkinson disease;
  • telomere;
  • urinary 8-OHdG;
  • vascular dementia

Background and purpose:  Shortened telomere length has been considered to be associated with various age-related diseases, especially in dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. However, changes in telomere length in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) remain unclear. To elucidate these changes, we set out to determine telomere length in peripheral leukocytes as well as the level of urinary 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as a marker of oxidative stress in DLB.

Methods:  Blood samples were obtained from 33 patients with a clinical diagnosis of probable DLB and 35 age-matched, non-demented elderly controls (NEC). Telomere length was assessed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of genomic DNA extracted from leukocytes, whereas oxidative stress was assessed on the basis of urine 8-OHdG level, which was measured using high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results:  Telomere length was significantly shorter in the DLB group than in the NEC group. Urinary 8-OHdG levels were significantly higher in the DLB group than in the NEC group. There was a negative correlation between telomere length and age in the DLB group; however, there were no significant relationships between telomere length and clinical findings including disease duration, severity of cognitive decline, presence or absence of fluctuation in cognitive function, visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonism. In both groups, the correlation between telomere length and urinary 8-OHdG levels was not significant.

Conclusions:  These findings indicate that the etiopathology of DLB is considered to be an accelerated aging process.