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Association of leukocyte telomere length with fatigue in nondisabled older adults.

Authors: Laila L. Bendix, Mikael M. Thinggaard, Masayuki M. Kimura, Abraham A. Aviv, Kaare K. Christensen, Merete M. Osler, Kirsten K. Avlund
Published: 02/16/2014, Journal of aging research


Introduction. Fatigue is often present in older adults with no identified underlying cause. The accruing burden of oxidative stress and inflammation might be underlying factors of fatigue. We therefore hypothesized that leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is relatively short in older adults who experience fatigue. Materials and Methods. We assessed 439 older nondisabled Danish twins. LTL was measured using Southern blots of terminal restriction fragments. Fatigue was measured by the Mob-T Scale based on questions on whether the respondents felt fatigued after performing six mobility items. Results. LTL was significantly associated with fatigue (P = 0.023), showing an increase of 0.038 kb/fatigue score unit. Aging-related diseases and mental health did not explain the association, while lifestyle factors slightly attenuated the estimates. Conclusion. Our results support an association between LTL and fatigue. Further studies are required to confirm this finding and the link of LTL with oxidative stress/inflammation over the life course.

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