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Telomeres in clinical diabetes research – Moving towards precision medicine in diabetes care?

  • Alicia J. Jenkins
    Affiliations
    NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney, 92-94 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, Sydney 2050, Australia

    The University of Melbourne, The Department of Medicine, St. Vincents, 29 Princes St, Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065, Australia

    Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, St. Vincents Health, 41 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065, Australia
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  • Anna Syreeni
    Affiliations
    Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland

    Department of Nephrology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
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  • Stefan Mutter
    Affiliations
    Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland

    Department of Nephrology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
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  • Andrzej S. Januszewski
    Affiliations
    NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney, 92-94 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, Sydney 2050, Australia

    The University of Melbourne, The Department of Medicine, St. Vincents, 29 Princes St, Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065, Australia

    Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, St. Vincents Health, 41 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065, Australia
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  • Per-Henrik Groop
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Nephrology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Biomedicum Helsinki, Haartmaninkatu 8, FIN-00290 Helsinki, Finland.
    Affiliations
    Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland

    Department of Nephrology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland

    Department of Diabetes, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:November 21, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2022.110178

      Abstract

      The early prediction of health outcomes for people with diabetes mellitus is desirable, as are adjunct therapies to reduce the related chronic complications and risk of premature death. The length of telomeres, protective caps on chromosome ends, is influenced by genetic and acquired factors, and shorter telomeres have been associated with and predictive of adverse cardiometabolic outcomes. Many studies have shown associations between telomere length in white blood cells (WBC) and diabetes per se and its chronic complications, and some studies show that telomeres do not always progressively shorten in people with diabetes. With the pandemic of diabetes and taking into consideration the calculations of residual risk using existent risk equations, additional tests to stratify subject risk are desirable. In this evolving era of precision medicine for people with diabetes, this ‘global biomarker’ of WBC telomere length may be useful to help predict health outcomes, to monitor health status, and may be a therapeutic target. We comment on the field of telomere investigations in diabetes, including recommending areas for further clinical research.

      Keywords

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