Abstract

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.