Objective: The telomere length is closely related with cell growth, proliferation, senescence and carcinogenesis. Increasing evidences demonstrated that there may be a potential importance of telomere biology in type 2 diabetes. In this study, we intend to investigate the effects of different treatments on leukocyte telomere length in T2DM patients.

Methods: 436 T2DM patients randomly selected from the outpatient of Tongji Hospital were divided into 5 groups according to the their treatments: insulin group, acarbose group, metformin group, sulfonylurea group, and control group without any treatment. Clinical characteristics were collected and leukocyte telomere length was measured.

Results: Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that leukocyte telomere length of all T2DM patients was inversely associated with age(r=-0.3401,P<0.01).The leukocyte telomere length had no significant difference among patients with different duration of T2DM (F=0.8913,P=0.4111).We grouped patients based on their treatments and compared the difference of their telomere length. One-way ANOVA analysis showed patients with different treatments had different leukocyte telomere attrition rates (F=61.7, P<0.001). Insulin group had the slowest leukocyte telomere attrition rate (-13.36 ± 4.611) and sulfonylurea group (-14.91 ± 6.428) was slightly faster than insulin group. Leukocyte telomere attrition rates in metformin group (-17.33 ± 7.954) and control group (-17.7 ± 4.384) were almost the same. Acarbose group had the fastest leukocyte telomere attrition rate(-29.69 ± 6.696).

Conclusions: Leukocyte telomere length was decreased with age in T2DM patients, and different therapys had different effects on leukocyte telomere lengths. Insulin had an effect of slowing down the telomere attrition as well as acarbose seemed accelerating it. These results suggest that insulin might slow down aging during the period of T2DM while acarbose accelerate it.


J. Liu: None. D. Ma: None. Y. Yang: None.

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