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HIV Linked to Shorter Telomeres, a Sign of Aging
A Poster Spotlight From CROI 2012

By Nelson Vergel

March 7, 2012

Nelson Vergel, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A.

Nelson Vergel, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A.

A telomere is a repeating sequence of nucleotides that protects the end of a chromosome. Telomeres shorten with aging. HIV-induced inflammation and the use of nucleoside analog drugs may accelerate telomere shortening.

A team from the University of British Columbia compared telomere length in leukocytes between 220 HIV-infected people (80% of them women, mean age 39) and 166 HIV-uninfected controls (71% of them women, mean age 39).

As expected, older age was predictive of shorter telomere length. HIV had a moderate negative effect on telomere length, but the strongest association was found with cigarette smoking, a source of oxidative stress that can accelerate cellular aging. Those who were both HIV infected and smoked had the worst telomere length, a sign of accelerated cellular aging.

For more information, read CROI poster 307, "HIV Infection Is Marginally Associated with Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length," presented by DeAnna Zanet.

Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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