Pulse Pressure Inversely Correlates with Telomere Length in French Men
Cardiovascular risk increases with chronological age. Pulse pressure (PP) also increases with chronological age and is an independent indicator of cardiovascular risk. It is therefore possible that after age-adjustment, the biological age of persons with wide PP is more advanced than their chronological age would indicate. We explored whether an index of biological age, namely telomere length (measured by the mean length of the terminal restriction fragment, TRF), provides a better account than chronological age of about variation in PP. We studied 193 French men and women (age 56 ± 11 years) on no antihypertensive medications. Univariate analysis showed that in both genders, TRF length (in WBCs) was correlated inversely with age (p< 0.01). The rate of telomere attrition was 0.038 and 0.036 kb/year for men and women, respectively. Only in men, after adjustment for mean arterial pressure, TRF length accounted for 12% variability in PP (p<0.001), while chronological age accounted for 10% variability in PP (p<0.001). Age-adjusted TRF length was longer in women than men (8.67 ± 0.09 vs 8.38 ± 0.07 kb, p = 0.016). We conclude that TRF length adds additional information about variability in PP among men, such that men with shorter telomere length are more likely to exhibit a wider PP. The longer telomere length in women suggests that for a given chronological age, the biological age of men is more advanced than that of women. The results also underscore the sexual dimorphism in aging and blood pressure regulation. We propose that large-scale studies should be undertaken to explore the relation between telomere length and cardiovascular risk.