telomere length (LTL) is commonly used as a biomarker of human aging,
principally for vascular aging, as expressed in atherosclerosis. Patients with
atherosclerosis display a shorter LTL than their peers without the clinical
manifestations of the disease.
Relatively short LTLs are also observed in clinical circumstances that
heighten the risk for atherosclerosis, including obesity, insulin resistance,
sedentary lifestyle and smoking. In
addition, recent studies, including research in same-sex elderly twins, clearly
show that in the elderly, short LTL is associated with diminished survival. Therefore, short LTL might be linked to
measurement techniques that have commonly been used in epidemiological and
clinical research include Southern blot analysis of the terminal restriction
fragments (TRFs), quantitative pCR (qPCR), and Flow-FISH. All of these methods suffer from major
shortcomings that limit their current use in clinical settings. Southern blots
of the TRFs and qPCR have been used more extensively than Flow-FISH to measure
LTL. The Southern blot method method requires a substantial amount of
DNA, is labor intensive, costly, and necessitates a considerable degree of
expertise. The reliability of the
qPCR method has been questioned because of possible PCR amplifications of
measurement errors and other potential shortcomings. In
addition, several publications have reported the use of the ratio of telomere to
alphoid centromere repeats as an index of telomere length. However, it has been found that the
length of alphoid centromeric repeats is highly variable among individuals
making this method unreliable.
Thus, there remains a need for an easy, inexpensive and high throughput
method to measure telomere length.
UMDNJ have developed a novel, potentially high throughout, inexpensive method to
measure telomere length that requires minimal DNA and is not PCR based. The process utilizes common laboratory
techniques and therefore requires little expertise.
measure telomere length
determine a patient’s risk for atherosclerosis and other aging-related