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1.  The Effect of Pro-Inflammatory Conditioning and/or High Glucose on Telomere Shortening of Aging Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73756.
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes have been linked to shorter telomeres, but it is not yet clear which risk factors contribute to shorter telomeres in patients. Our aim was to examine whether pro-inflammatory conditioning, in combination or not with high glucose, result in a higher rate of telomere shortening during in vitro cellular ageing. Human fibroblasts from four donors were cultured for 90 days in: 1) medium lacking ascorbic acid only, 2) 10 mM buthionine sulphoximine (BSO) (pro-oxidant), 3) 25 mM D-glucose, 4) 1 ng/ml IL1B and 5) 25 mM D-glucose+1 ng/ml IL1B. Telomere length was measured with qPCR and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) content and cell death with flow cytometry. Cultures treated with high glucose and BSO displayed a significantly lower growth rate, and cultures treated with IL1B showed a trend towards a higher growth rate, compared to the control [Glucose:0.14 PD/day, p<0.001, BSO: 0.11 PD/day, p = 0.006 and IL1B: 0.19 PD/day, p = 0.093 vs. Control:0.16 PD/day]. Telomere shortening with time was significantly accelerated in cultures treated with IL1B compared to the control [IL1B:−0.8%/day (95%CI:−1.1, −0.5) vs. Control:−0.6%/day (95%CI:−0.8, −0.3), p = 0.012]. The hastening of telomere shortening by IL1B was only in part attenuated after adjustment for the number of cell divisions [IL1B:−4.1%/PD (95%CI:−5.7, −2.4) vs. Control:−2.5%/PD (95%CI:−4.4, −0.7), p = 0.067]. The intracellular ROS content displayed 69% increase (p = 0.033) in BSO compared to the control. In aging fibroblasts, pro-inflammatory conditioning aggravates the shortening of telomeres, an effect which was only in part driven by increased cell turnover. High glucose alone did not result in greater production of ROS or telomere shortening.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073756
PMCID: PMC3781104  PMID: 24086293
2.  Association of telomere length with type 2 diabetes, oxidative stress and UCP2 gene variation 
Atherosclerosis  2010;209(1):42-50.
Objective
High oxidative stress potentially leads to accelerated telomere shortening and consequent premature cell senescence, implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D) development. Therefore, we studied the association of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with the presence of T2D, as well as the effect on the patients’ LTL of plasma oxidative stress and of variation in UCP2, a gene involved in the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species.
Methods
Mean LTL was determined in 569 Caucasian, 103 South Asian and 70 Afro-Caribbean T2D patients aged from 24 to 92 years, 81 healthy Caucasian male students aged from 18 to 28 years and 367 healthy Caucasian men aged from 40 to 61 years by real-time PCR. Plasma total antioxidant status (TAOS) was measured in the T2D patients by a photometric microassay. The patients were also genotyped for the UCP2 functional variants −866G>A and A55V.
Results
Afro-Carribeans had 510 bp longer mean length compared to Caucasians (p < 0.0001) and 500 bp longer than South Asians (p = 0.004). T2D subjects displayed shorter age-adjusted LTL compared to controls [6.94(6.8–7.03) vs. 7.72(7.53–7.9), p < 0.001] with subjects in the middle and the lowest tertile of LTL having significantly higher odds ratios for T2D compared to those in the highest tertile [1.50(1.08–2.07) and 5.04(3.63–6.99), respectively, p < 0.0001]. In the patients, LTL was correlated negatively with age (r = −0.18, p < 0.0001) and positively with TAOS measures (r = 0.12, p = 0.01) after adjusting for age, while carriers of the UCP2 −866A allele had shorter age-adjusted LTL than common homozygotes [6.86(6.76–6.96) kb vs. 7.03(6.91–7.15) kb, p = 0.04].
Conclusion
The present data suggest that shorter LTL is associated with the presence of T2D and this could be partially attributed to the high oxidative stress in these patients. The association of the UCP2 functional promoter variant with the LTL implies a link between mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and shorter telomere length in T2D.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.09.070
PMCID: PMC2839074  PMID: 19889414
Telomere length; Type 2 diabetes; Oxidative stress; UCP2 gene; Ethnic diversity
3.  A common allele in RPGRIP1L is a modifier of retinal degeneration in ciliopathies 
Nature genetics  2009;41(6):739-745.
Despite rapid advances in disease gene identification, the predictive power of the genotype remains limited, in part due to poorly understood effects of second-site modifiers. Here we demonstrate that a polymorphic coding variant of RPGRIP1L (retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator-interacting protein-1 like), a ciliary gene mutated in Meckel-Gruber (MKS) and Joubert (JBTS) syndromes, is associated with the development of retinal degeneration in patients with ciliopathies caused by mutations in other genes. As part of our resequencing efforts of the ciliary proteome, we identified several putative loss of function RPGRIP1L mutations, including one common variant, A229T. Multiple genetic lines of evidence showed this allele to be associated with photoreceptor loss in ciliopathies. Moreover, we show that RPGRIP1L interacts biochemically with RPGR, loss of which causes retinal degeneration, and that the 229T-encoded protein significantly compromises this interaction. Our data represent an example of modification of a discrete phenotype of syndromic disease and highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach for the discovery of modifier alleles of intermediate frequency and effect.
doi:10.1038/ng.366
PMCID: PMC2783476  PMID: 19430481

Results 1-3 (3)