Telomere attrition has been noted in many neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative syndromes, and may indicate a shared molecular pathology across conditions. We evaluated telomere length in subjects with remitted and unremitted schizophrenia and in control subjects.
We measured telomere length as relative telomere/single-copy gene ratios in subjects with schizophrenia (n = 71) using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. This was compared with relative telomere/single-copy gene ratios in age-matched controls without neuropsychiatric illness (n = 73).
The relative telomere/single-copy gene ratios were significantly lower in subjects with unremitted schizophrenia when compared with control subjects (r = -0.281, P = 0.003), as well as the individuals with remitted schizophrenia.
The lower relative telomere length in unremitted schizophrenia subjects may thus indicate shared biological pathways with other neurodegenerative disorders that are also characterized by increased cellular senescence.