© The Author(s) 2014.
Shortened telomere length (TL) and oxidative stress have been described in several vascular disorders at both the tissue and circulating level. However, to our knowledge, there are no reports about TL associated with varicose vein (VV) disease. This paper aimed to evaluate, at the tissue and circulating level, TL and oxidative stress in VV disease, compared to the corresponding counterparts from abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) patients and control healthy subjects. TL was measured using quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH). Oxidative stress was evaluated by measuring the malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration by thiobarbituric acid reactive substance/s (TBARS) assay. At the vascular tissue level, VV patients had shortened TL and a high MDA concentration, similarly to AAA patients. Conversely, blood lymphocytes and epidermal cells from VV patients had a TL similar to healthy controls and significantly longer than the same cells from AAA patients. Moreover, the MDA concentration in plasma from VV patients was significantly lower than from the AAA group. Linear regression analysis showed a statistically significant inverse correlation between the blood lymphocyte TL and plasma MDA level. Our results suggest that, unlike AAA, telomere attrition in VV tissue is not a systemic phenomenon but it may be attributable to tissue microenvironment conditions and possibly to high local oxidative stress.