Telomere shortening in arteries could lead to telomere uncapping and cellular senescence, which in turn could promote the development of hypertension.
Methods And Results
To assess the novel role of arterial telomere dysfunction in hypertension, we compared mean telomere length (qPCR), telomere uncapping (serine 139 phosphorylated histone γ-H2A.X (γ-H2) localized to telomeres: ChIP), and tumor suppressor protein p53 (P53)/cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (P21)-induced senescence (P53 bound to P21 gene promoter: ChIP) in arteries from 55 age-matched hypertensive and nonhypertensive individuals. Arterial mean telomere length was not different in hypertensive patients compared with nonhypertensive individuals (P = 0.29). Arterial telomere uncapping and P53/P21-induced senescence were two-fold greater in hypertensive patients compared with nonhypertensive individuals (P = 0.04 and P = 0.02, respectively). Arterial mean telomere length was not associated with telomere uncapping or P53/P21-induced senescence (r = -0.02, P = 0.44 and r = 0.01, P = 0.50, respectively), but telomere uncapping was a highly influential covariate for the hypertension group difference in P53/P21-induced senescence (r = 0.62, P < 0.001, η(p)(2) = 0.35). Finally, telomere uncapping was a significant predictor of hypertension status (P = 0.03), whereas mean telomere length was not (P = 0.68).
Collectively, these findings demonstrate that arterial telomere uncapping and P53/P21-induced senescence are linked to hypertension independently of mean telomere length, and telomere uncapping influences hypertension status more than mean telomere length.