Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation that is not completely reversible by administration of inhaled bronchodilators. Many studies propose that telomere length shortening might have occurred in COPD patients. We aimed to determine the telomere length in COPD patients and compare the results of non-smoking and smoking control subjects.
Materials And Methods
In our case-control study, 84 clinically stable COPD patients were recruited on admission to Masih Daneshvari Hospital. Eighty-five healthy controls were also selected including 45 non-smokers and 40 smokers admitted for diseases other than COPD. Spirometry was done for all subjects. Telomere length was measured by quantitative real time PCR as described by Cawthon. The telomere repeat copy number (T) to single-gene copy number (S) ratio was calculated using the comparative Ct method.
The mean ±SD of age was 64.33±10.04 years in patients and 65.06 ±10.02 years in controls (P=0.693). The mean ±SD of FEV1 was 1.62±0.75 L in patients, 2.84±0.54 L in smoker controls and 2.83±0.56 L in non-smoker controls; significant differences were detected in this regard between cases and controls (P<0.001). T/S ratio was significantly lower in COPD patients (0.61±0.08) than in the control subjects (0.69±0.09) (P<0.001). However, telomere length was shorter in the patients than in controls in each age group (P<0.001). Additionally, there were no statistically significant differences in telomere length between the smoker and non-smoker control subjects. Regarding the correlation between BMI and telomere length, there were no significant differences among the patients and control groups.
In conclusion, we found that telomere length in COPD patients was shorter than that in smoker and non-smoker controls, irrespective of age, sex, spirometric variables, BMI and history of cigarette smoking.