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Differential Telomere Shortening in Blood versus Arteries in an Animal Model of Type 2 Diabetes.

Authors: Samira S. Tajbakhsh, Kamelya K. Aliakbari, Damian J DJ. Hussey, Karen M KM. Lower, Anthony J AJ. Donato, Elke M EM. Sokoya
Published: 08/06/2015, Journal of diabetes research


Vascular dysfunction is an early feature of diabetic vascular disease, due to increased oxidative stress and reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. This can lead to endothelial cell senescence and clinical complications such as stroke. Cells can become senescent by shortened telomeres and oxidative stress is known to accelerate telomere attrition. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) has been linked to vascular health by upregulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), suppressing oxidative stress, and attenuating telomere shortening. Accelerated leukocyte telomere attrition appears to be a feature of clinical type 2 diabetes (T2D) and therefore the telomere system may be a potential therapeutic target in preventing vascular complications of T2D. However the effect of T2D on vascular telomere length is currently unknown. We hypothesized that T2D gives rise to shortened leukocyte and vascular telomeres alongside reduced vascular SIRT1 expression and increased oxidative stress. Accelerated telomere attrition was observed in circulating leukocytes, but not arteries, in T2D compared to control rats. T2D rats had blunted arterial SIRT1 and eNOS protein expression levels which were associated with reduced antioxidant defense capacity. Our findings suggest that hyperglycemia and a deficit in vascular SIRT1 per se are not sufficient to prematurely shorten vascular telomeres.

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