Leucocyte Telomere Length linked to obesity in pre-diabetic and diabetic women | Health

A recent study jointly conducted by Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and related sciences and partners concluded that Leucocyte Telomere Length (LTL) is associated with obesity in pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetic women. The study further explored the relationship between prediabetes, trunk obesity and LTL, the shortening of which indicates faster aging and premature death. LTL is the measure most commonly used to study age-related shortening and disease risk in human populations.

The study was jointly conducted by Dr. Anoop Misra, Padma Shri, Executive Chairman and Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied Sciences and Surya Prakash Bhatt, Ravindra Mohan Pandey and Ashish Datt Upadhyay. The key findings of the study have been published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

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LTL is known to be associated with aging and related diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This study examined the relationship of LTL in prediabetic women, and specifically the relationship of LTL with obesity in women. This study is the first of its kind.

Research design and method

In this study from July 2015 to December 2020, 1,361 women were selected from Northern India, aged 20-60 years. Among them, 797 pre-diabetic women (obese, 492; non-obese, 305) were recruited and their demographic, clinical profiles, and fasting blood glucose were evaluated. LTL was quantified by a quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a laboratory technique for rapidly amplifying millions of copies of a specific segment of DNA. In addition, telomere length was detected from DNA samples and expressed as the mean T/S ratio (telomere repeats per gene with one copy). The subjects were randomly assigned to have an approximate representation of upper, middle and lower income groups from 41 residential areas in Delhi.

Some subjects were excluded based on oral hypoglycemic use, alcohol, tobacco or drug abuse, medications that affect insulin sensitivity, pregnancy, severe end-organ damage or chronic disease, malignancy and other endocrine disorders, and significant liver, kidney, thyroid – or other endocrine diseases.

Key findings:

• The study specifies the association between LTL in women with abnormal fasting glycemia (pre-diabetes). The relationship of LTL with fatness, particularly in the trunk portion of the body, is reported.

• The mean LTL was significantly shorter in obese women with pre-diabetes.

• The R-squared (R2) statistic for the multivariable linear model after adjusting for age, household income, education and hypertension showed that LTL was inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, waist-hip and waist – height ratio, trunk skinfolds (triceps ratio, central and total skinfolds), fat mass (kg) and body fat percentage.

• In addition to age, obesity and fat distribution in the trunk part of the body are a major contributor to telomere shortening in women with abnormal fasting glycemia.

dr. Anoop Misra, Padma Shri, Executive Chairman and Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-DOC, said: “In addition to age, obesity and subcutaneous adiposity (primarily trunk) are a major contributor to telomere shortening in Asian Indian women with abnormal fasting glycemia (reduced fasting glucose). This means that Indian women who have excess fat above the torso and who are prediabetes may have a lower life span. It has a connotation with mortality statistics of women in India and also has huge implications for the prevention of prediabetes.”

Lead author, stated Dr. Surya Prakash; “Obesity in Indian women starts to increase in the 30-40 age group, which is where most of the lifestyle efforts should be concentrated.”

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