Study Title:

Parkinson's Patients Have Shorter Telomeres

Study Abstract


Many studies have shown that short telomere length (TL) is associated with high oxidative stress and various age-related diseases. Parkinson's disease (PD) is an age-related disease, and although its pathogenic mechanism is uncertain, oxidative stress is believed to be implicated in this pathology. The aim of this case-control study was to assess both TL and the different markers of oxidative stress in elderly patients with PD compared to age control subjects.


20 PD patients and 15 age-matched controls, >65 years were studied. TL was measured by Southern blotting from DNA samples extracted from white blood cells. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and plasma levels of total glutathione and protein carbonyls were determined.


There was a trend for lower TL in PD patients: 6.06 ± 0.81 kb in PD versus 6.45 ± 0.73 kb in controls (p = 0.08). No significant difference was found between the two groups in terms of oxidative stress markers. In controls, age was the main determinant of telomere shortening (r = -0.547; p = 0.03) whereas, in PD patients, telomere shortening was mainly dependent on plasmatic concentrations of carbonyl proteins (r= -0.544; p=0.044). In PD patients, a negative association was observed between plasma carbonyl protein levels and SOD activity (r= -0.622, p=0.004).


In PD, TL is shorter in presence of high oxidative stress as measured by carbonyl protein levels. The absence of telomere attrition with age among patients with PD could reflect a telomere regulation by mechanisms other than age.

Study Information

Watfa G, Dragonas C, Brosche T, Dittrich R, Sieber CC, Alecu C, Benetos A, Nzietchueng R.
Study of telomere length and different markers of oxidative stress in patients with Parkinson's disease.
J Nutr Health Aging.
2011 April
Department of Geriatrics, University Hospital of Nancy, Nancy, France.

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