A review of telomere length in sarcopenia and frailty

Maria Lorenzi, Stefano Bonassi, Teresa Lorenzi, Silvia Giovannini, Roberto Bernabei, Graziano Onder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sarcopenia and frailty are associated with several important health-related adverse events, including disability, loss of independence, institutionalization and mortality. Sarcopenia can be considered a biological substrate of frailty, and the prevalence of both these conditions progressively increases with age. Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures located at the end of linear chromosomes and implicated in cellular ageing, shorten with age, and are associated with various age-related diseases. In addition, telomere length (TL) is widely considered a molecular/cellular hallmark of the ageing process. This narrative review summarizes the knowledge about telomeres and analyzes for the first time a possible association of TL with sarcopenia and frailty. The overview provided by the present review suggests that leukocyte TL as single measurement, calculated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), cannot be considered a meaningful biological marker for complex, multidimensional age-related conditions, such as sarcopenia and frailty. Panels of biomarkers, including TL, may provide more accurate assessment and prediction of outcomes in these geriatric syndromes in elderly people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Age-related diseases
  • Ageing
  • Frailty
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sarcopenia
  • Telomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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