Research Paper Volume 11, Issue 2 pp 741—755

Association between antidiabetic agents use and leukocyte telomere shortening rates in patients with type 2 diabetes

Juanhong Liu1, , Yuanlong Ge2, , Shu Wu2, , Delin Ma1, , Weijie Xu1, , Ye Zhang1, , Yan Yang1, ,

  • 1 Department of Endocrinology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China
  • 2 Key Laboratory of Gene Engineering of the Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
* Equal contribution

Received: December 9, 2018       Accepted: January 15, 2019       Published: January 28, 2019
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2019 Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Telomere length and telomere shortening rate (TSR) are accepted indicators of aging in cross-sectional population studies. This study aimed to investigate the potential influence of common antidiabetic agents on telomere length and TSR in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Leukocyte telomere length was measured through terminal restriction fragment analysis, and TSR was calculated in 388 T2DM patients. Depending on whether or not they received antidiabetic medication, patients were first divided into a treatment group and a nontreatment group. Treated patients were further subdivided into an acarbose-free group (patients taking antidiabetic agents without acarbose) and an acarbose group (patients using acarbose for more than 3 months). Results showed that untreated patients had higher TSRs than patients on antidiabetic drugs. Interestingly, patients in the acarbose group had significantly higher TSRs than patients in the acarbose-free group. Compared to the nontreatment group, the acarbose group showed better glycemic control of HbA1c, but the TSR was also higher. Our results suggest that antidiabetic treatments without acarbose can slow aging. By contrast, acarbose may accelerate biological aging in patients with T2DM, independently of glycemic control.


T2DM: type 2 diabetes mellitus; HbA1c: hemoglobin; OGTT: oral glucose tolerance test; TRF: terminal restriction fragment; TSR: telomere shortening rate.