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Leucocyte Telomere Length linked to obesity in pre-diabetic and diabetic women | Health

A recent study conducted jointly by Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied sciences and partners concluded that Leucocyte Telomere Length (LTL) is linked to obesity in pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetic women. The study further addressed the elationship between prediabetes, truncal obesity and LTL, shortening of which, indicates faster aging and premature death. LTL is the measure most commonly used to study age-dependent shortening and disease risk in human populations.

The study was jointly conducted by Dr Anoop Misra, Padma Shri, Executive Chairman and Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied Sciences and Surya Prakash Bhatt, Ravindra Mohan Pandeyand Ashish Datt Upadhyay. The key findings of the study have been published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

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LTL is known to be linked with aging and associated diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This study investigated the relationship of LTL in pre-diabetic women, and specifically, the relationship of LTL with obesity in women. This study is the first of its kind.

Research design and method

In this study from July 2015 to December 2020, 1,361 women were selected from North India, within the age group of 20–60 years. Among them, 797 pre-diabetic women (obese, 492; non-obese, 305) were enlisted and their demographic, clinical profiles and fasting blood glucose were evaluated. LTL was quantified by a quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which is a laboratory technique for rapidly amplifying millions of copies of a specific segment of DNA. Along with that, the telomere length was detected from DNA samples and expressed as the mean T/S ratio (telomere repeats per single-copy gene). The study subjects were randomly designated to have an approximate representation of higher, medium and lower income groups from 41 residential areas in Delhi.

Some of the study subjects were excluded based on the use of oral antidiabetic drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or drug abuse, any medication which could affect insulin sensitivity, pregnancy, severe end-organ damage or chronic diseases, malignancy and other endocrine disorders and significant liver, kidney, thyroid, or other endocrine diseases.

Key Findings:

• The study specifies the link between LTL in women with abnormal fasting glycemia (pre-diabetes). The relationship of LTL with fatness, particularly in the truncal part of the body is being reported.

• The average LTL was significantly shorter in obese women with pre-diabetes.

• The R-squared (R2) statistic for the multivariable linear model after adjusting for age, family income, education, and hypertension showed that LTL was inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, waist-hip and waist-to-height ratio, truncal skinfolds (triceps ratio, central and total skinfolds), fat mass (kg) and percentage body fat.

• Besides age, obesity, and fat distribution in the truncal part of the body are major contributors to telomere shortening in women with abnormal fasting glycemia.

Dr Anoop Misra, Padma Shri, Executive Chairman and Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-DOC shared, “Besides age, obesity and subcutaneous adiposity (predominantly truncal) are major contributors to telomere shortening in Asian Indian women with abnormal fasting glycemia (impaired fasting glucose). This means Indian women who are excess fat over trunk and are prediabetes, may have lower longevity. It has connotation to mortality statistics of females in India as well huge implications of prevention of prediabetes.”

Lead author, Dr Surya Prakash stated; “Obesity in Indian women starts to increase in the 30-40 age group, and that is where most of the lifestyle efforts should be concentrated.”

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