Leukocyte telomere length and mortality risk in patients with type 2 diabetes

Anna Rita Bonfigli, Liana Spazzafumo, Francesco Prattichizzo, Massimiliano Bonafè, Emanuela Mensà, Luigina Micolucci, Angelica Giuliani, Paolo Fabbietti, Roberto Testa, Massimo Boemi, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Fabiola Olivieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) shortening is found in a number of age-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In this study its possible association with mortality was analyzed in a sample of 568 T2DM patients (mean age 65.9 ± 9 years), who were followed for a median of 10.2 years (interquartile range 2.2). A number of demographic, laboratory and clinical parameters determined at baseline were evaluated as mortality risk factors. LTL was measured by quantitative real-time PCR and reported as T/S (telomere-to-single copy gene ratio). Age, gender, creatinine, diabetes duration at baseline, and LTL were significantly different between T2DM patients who were dead and alive at follow-up. In the Cox regression analysis adjusted for the confounding variables, shorter LTL, older age, and longer disease duration significantly increased the risk of all-cause mortality (HR = 3.45, 95%CI 1.02-12.5, p = 0.004). Kaplan-Maier analysis also found a different cumulative mortality risk for patients having an LTL shorter than the median (T/S ≤ 0.04) and disease duration longer than the median (>10 years) (log-rank = 11.02, p = 0.011). Time-dependent mortality risk stratification showed that T2DM duration and LTL combined was a fairly good predictor of mortality over the first 76 months of follow-up. In conclusion, LTL combined with clinical parameters can provide additive prognostic information on mortality risk in T2DM patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50835-50844
Number of pages10
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Aging
  • Gerotarget
  • Mortality
  • Telomere shortening
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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