Research Paper Volume 14, Issue 14 pp 5620—5627
Common electrocardiogram measures are not associated with telomere length
- 1 Department of Cardiology, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany
- 2 German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner Site Munich Heart Alliance, Munich, Germany
- 3 Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany
- 4 Research Unit Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany
- 5 Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology, Medical Faculty, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany
- 6 Institute of Genetic Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany
- 7 Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
- 8 Pettenkofer School of Public Health Munich, Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology, Medical Faculty, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany
Received: February 19, 2022 Accepted: June 14, 2022 Published: July 5, 2022https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.204149
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2022 von Falkenhausen 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.
Aims: Aging is accompanied by telomere shortening. Increased telomere shortening is considered a marker of premature aging. Cardiac aging results in the development of cardiac pathologies. Electrocardiogram (ECG) measures reflect cardiac excitation, conduction, and repolarization. ECG measures also prolong with aging and are associated with cardiac pathologies including atrial fibrillation. As premature prolongation of ECG measures is observed, we hypothesized that such prolongation may be associated with telomere length.
Methods and Results: We studied the large, community-based KORA F4 Study. Of 3,080 participants enrolled between 2006 and 2007 with detailed information on demographic, anthropometric, clinical, and ECG characteristics, 2,575 presented with available data on leukocyte telomere length. Telomere length was determined by real-time quantitative PCR and expressed relative to a single copy gene. We fitted multivariable adjusted linear regression models to associate the ECG measures RR-interval, PR-interval, QRS-duration, and heart rate corrected QTc with telomere length.
In our cohort, the mean age was 54.9±12.9 years and 46.6% were men. Increased age was associated with shorter telomere length (p<0.01), and men had shorter telomere length than women (p<0.05). In unadjusted models, heart rate (p=0.023), PR-interval (p<0.01), and QTc-interval (p<0.01) were significantly associated with shorter telomere length. However, no significant associations remained after accounting for age, sex, and covariates.
Conclusions: ECG measures are age-dependent, but not associated with shortened telomere length as a marker of biological aging. Further research is warranted to clarify if shortened telomeres are associated with clinical cardiac pathologies including atrial fibrillation.