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Ian Thompson, Baoying Liu, H Nida Sen, Bogdan Dumitriu, Rodrigo Calado, Sima Hirani, Mary Morgan, Shayma Jawad, Neal Young, Robert Nussenblatt; Telomere Length of peripheral leukocytes is shortened in Ocular Sarcoidosis patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2531.
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Chronic inflammatory activity has been associated with leukocyte telomere shortening, and short telomere length may occur with higher frequency in autoimmune diseases including sarcodosis. Tumor necrosis factor - alpha (TNF-alpha), a marker of systemic inflammation, has been reported to promote telomere attrition in lymphocytes through the inhibition of telomerase (hTERT) activity. The aim of this study was to determine if telomere length is shortened in peripheral blood leukocytes of ocular sarcoidosis patients as compared to healthy controls, and to investigate the relationship between lymphocyte telomere length and TNF-a serum level.
Telomere length of leukocytes was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in 44 ocular sarcoidosis patients, and compared to 300 age-matched healthy control samples. 35 of the 44 ocular sarcoidosis patients and 40 healthy controls had their serum levels of TNF-alpha measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. TNF-alpha levels were then correlated with leukocyte telomere lengths.
Ocular sarcoidosis patients demonstrated significantly shorter leukocyte telomere lengths when compared with age-matched controls. There was weak negative correlation between leukocyte telomere length and age ( r = -.24, p = 0.11) in ocular sarcoidosis patients. Very short peripheral blood leukocyte telomere lengths (below the first percentile as compared to age-matched controls) were identified in six out of 44 patients. Ocular sarcoidosis patients did not differ from healthy controls in TNF-alpha serum levels.
Telomere attrition in leukocytes is a plausible cause for abnormal leukocyte cell function in ocular sarcoidosis patients. Functional studies are underway to address this.
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