Telomere shortening is not a factor in the progression of cardiac insufficiency

- Research

Researchers from the Heart Disease Research Group at the Germans Trias I Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) and researchers from the Spanish Biomedical Research Network for Cardiovascular Disease  (CIBERCV) have analysed  the degree of shortening of telomeres and its correlation with progression of cardiac insufficiency (CI) over a year. The results published in Journal of Translational Medicine indicate that telomere shortening in monocytes is probably not a biomarker for the progression of CI.

"We have demonstrated a 22% reduction in telomere length in circulating monocytes in patients with cardiac insufficiency after a year.  Neither the length of the telomeres or this difference can be related to clinical results during long-term follow-up," explains Dr Antoni Bayés-Genís, leader of the research group and Head of the Cardiology Service at the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital.

The study was carried out with the collaboration of the IGTP-HUGTP Biobank, where the samples of peripheral blood of the cohort of patients being studied were processed, and the Cytometry Core Facility at the IGTP where the length of the telomeres in the monocytes was analysed.  Both core facilities contributed to the development of the new Flow-FISH method (flow cytometry - fluorescent hybridization in situ). The same CIBERCV research group published a paper describing this method in 2016.

New techniques for measuring telomeres

The extreme ends of chromosomes, the telomeres, get shorter and shorter as an organism ages and this has been correlated with a large number of diseases, including cancer or cardiac insufficiency. 

The research group previously developed a method to simultaneously measure subgroups of monocytes (a type of leukocyte) and the length of their telomeres.  The Flow-FISH based on multicolour flow cytometry and fluorescent in situ hybridization has allowed them to study the length of telomeres in existing sub-populations of circulating monocytes: classic 8cd14++CD16-), intermediate (CD14++CD16+) i non-classic (CD14+CD16++).