eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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abstract:
Basic research

Positive association and future perspectives of mitochondrial DNA copy number and telomere length – a pilot twin study

Dóra Melicher, Anett Illés, Levente Littvay, Ádám Domonkos Tárnoki, Dávid László Tárnoki, András Bikov, László Kunos, Dóra Csabán, Edit Irén Buzás, Mária Judit Molnár, András Falus

Online publish date: 2019/03/25
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Introduction
Recent experimental and population studies have highlighted the existence of telomere-mitochondria interplay. Besides studies revealing the molecular mechanisms underlying the associations of telomere defects and mitochondrial functions, investigations of mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) and telomere length (TL) in healthy and disease phenotypes have likewise begun, with the aim of gaining more insights about their relationship in humans.

Material and methods
A total of 142 asymptomatic adult twins, comprising 96 monozygotic (MZ) and 46 dizygotic (DZ) twins (mean age: 50.54 ±15.43 years), members of the Hungarian Twin Registry, were included in the analysis. Applying the qPCR standard curve method, we investigated the relationship of mtDNA copy number, telomere length and clinical data, besides assessing co-twin similarities of MZ and DZ twins for their mtDNAcn and TL measures.

Results
We found that twins were similar in their intraclass correlation coefficients irrespective of zygosity, suggesting a possibly more important role of common (shared) environmental factors compared to non-shared (unique) environmental and to a smaller degree also individual genetic influences. We confirmed a significant positive association between mtDNAcn and TL (r = 0.28, p < 0.01) in age- and sex-corrected analysis. Following bivariate estimates and correction with significant predictors, the independent positive associations were further verified.

Conclusions
Our results extend the until now modest number of studies investigating mtDNAcn and TL simultaneously in humans. In addition, we are the first to examine the relationship between mtDNAcn and telomere length in MZ and DZ twin subjects.

keywords:

mitochondria, telomeres, mtDNAcn, telomere length, twin pairs, biomarker

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