Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(14):2180-2186. doi:10.7150/ijms.48456

Research Paper

Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length coupled with lower expression of Telomerase Genes in patients with Essential Hypertension

Guanghui Cheng1, Lina Wang1, Mingkai Dai1, Fengtao Wei2✉, Dawei Xu3✉

1. Central Research Laboratory, The Second Hospital, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, 250033, PR China.
2. Department of Cardiology, The Second Hospital, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, 250033, PR China.
3. Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Bioclinicum and Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital Solna, SE-171 76 Solna, Sweden.

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Citation:
Cheng G, Wang L, Dai M, Wei F, Xu D. Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length coupled with lower expression of Telomerase Genes in patients with Essential Hypertension. Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(14):2180-2186. doi:10.7150/ijms.48456. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v17p2180.htm

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Abstract

Background: The essential hypertension (EH) pathophysiology remains poorly understood. Many studies indicate that reduced leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is involved in the EH pathogenesis, however, the direct analysis of arterial telomere length (ATL) from EH patients and normotensive individuals did not show a difference. To address these discrepant observations between LTL and ATL, we performed comprehensive analyses of LTL, telomerase gene expression and their genetic variants in healthy normotensive controls and EH patients.

Methods: Sex-matched 206 EH patients and equal numbers of healthy controls were recruited. LTL, and the expression of two key telomerase components, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and internal RNA template (TERC) were determined using qPCR. Genetic variants of rs2736100 at the TERT and rs12696304 at the TERC loci were determined using TaqMan genotyping kits.

Results: LTL was significantly shorter in EH patients than in their normotensive controls (0.96 ± 0.52 vs 1.19 ± 0.58, P = 0.001). Moreover, TERT and TERC expression in patients' leukocytes were substantially lower compare to that in healthy controls (TERT, 0.98 ± 0.98 vs 1.76 ± 1.75, P = 0.003; TERC, 1.26 ± 1.62 vs 4.69 ± 3.61, P < 0.001). However, there were no differences in the genetic variants of rs2736100 and rs12696304 between patient and control groups.

Conclusions: EH patients have significantly shorter LTL, which may result from defective TERT and TERC expression in leukocytes. Collectively, lower telomerase expression contributes to shorter LTL observed in EH patients, and telomerase activators may be considered for EH therapy.

Keywords: Age-related disease, Hypertension, ET-1, Telomerase, Telomere