The development of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is heterogeneous even in the presence of similar risk factors. Our aim was to determine whether inter-individual differences in leukocyte telomere length contribute to the susceptibility of PAD.
A total of 485 patients with PAD (defined by the ankle-brachial index) and 970 age- and gender-matched controls were recruited from seven rural communities in Henan Province in China. The relative leukocyte telomere length was determined by a quantitative PCR-based method. Two common promoter variants of the hTERT gene were genotyped to assess their effects on telomere length and the risk of PAD. In vivo luciferase assay was performed to study the transcriptional activity.