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Gender and telomere length: systematic review and meta-analysis

Gender and telomere length: systematic review and meta-analysis
Gender and telomere length: systematic review and meta-analysis
BACKGROUND: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory.

METHODS: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression.

RESULTS: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p=1.00) or cell type (p=0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error.

CONCLUSIONS: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.
gender, telomere length, systematic review and meta-analysis, measurement methods, epidemiology
0531-5565
15-27
Gardner, Michael
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Bann, David
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Wiley, Laura
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Cooper, Rachel
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Hardy, Rebecca
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Nitsch, Dorothea
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Martin-Ruiz, Carmen
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Shiels, Paul
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Sayer, Avan Aihie
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Barbieri, Michelangela
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Bischoff, Claus
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Brooks-Wilson, Angela
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Chen, Wei
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Cooper, Cyrus
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Christiensen, Kaare
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de Meyer, Tim
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Deary, Ian
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Der, Geoff
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Roux, Ana Diez
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Fitzpatrick, Annette
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Nawrot, Tim S.
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Nilsson, Peter
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Robertson, Tony
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Roos, Goran
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Staessen, Jan A.
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Spector, Tim
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Tang, Nelson
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Unryn, Brad
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van der Harst, Pim
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Woo, Jean
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Xing, Chao
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Yadegarfar, Mohammed E.
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Park, Jae Yong
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Young, Neal
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Kuh, Diana
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von Zglinicki, Thomas
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Ben-Shlomo, Yoav
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Gardner, Michael
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Bann, David
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Wiley, Laura
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Cooper, Rachel
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Hardy, Rebecca
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Nitsch, Dorothea
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Martin-Ruiz, Carmen
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Shiels, Paul
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Sayer, Avan Aihie
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Barbieri, Michelangela
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Bekarert, Sofie
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Bischoff, Claus
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Brooks-Wilson, Angela
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Chen, Wei
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Cooper, Cyrus
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Christiensen, Kaare
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de Meyer, Tim
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Deary, Ian
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Der, Geoff
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Roux, Ana Diez
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Fitzpatrick, Annette
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Hajat, Anjum
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Halaschek-Wiener, Julius
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Harris, Sarah
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Hunt, Steven C.
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Jagger, Carol
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Jeon, Hyo-Sung
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Kaplan, Robert
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Kimura, Masayuki
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Lansdorp, Peter
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Li, Changyong
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Maeda, Toyoki
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Mangino, Massimo
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Nawrot, Tim S.
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Nilsson, Peter
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Nordjfall, Katarina
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Paolisso, Guiseppe
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Ren, Fu
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Roos, Goran
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Staessen, Jan A.
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Spector, Tim
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Tang, Nelson
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Unryn, Brad
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van der Harst, Pim
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Woo, Jean
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Xing, Chao
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Yadegarfar, Mohammed E.
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Park, Jae Yong
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Young, Neal
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Kuh, Diana
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von Zglinicki, Thomas
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Ben-Shlomo, Yoav
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Gardner, Michael, Bann, David, Wiley, Laura, Cooper, Rachel, Hardy, Rebecca, Nitsch, Dorothea, Martin-Ruiz, Carmen, Shiels, Paul, Sayer, Avan Aihie, Barbieri, Michelangela, Bekarert, Sofie, Bischoff, Claus, Brooks-Wilson, Angela, Chen, Wei, Cooper, Cyrus, Christiensen, Kaare, de Meyer, Tim, Deary, Ian, Der, Geoff, Roux, Ana Diez, Fitzpatrick, Annette, Hajat, Anjum, Halaschek-Wiener, Julius, Harris, Sarah, Hunt, Steven C., Jagger, Carol, Jeon, Hyo-Sung, Kaplan, Robert, Kimura, Masayuki, Lansdorp, Peter, Li, Changyong, Maeda, Toyoki, Mangino, Massimo, Nawrot, Tim S., Nilsson, Peter, Nordjfall, Katarina, Paolisso, Guiseppe, Ren, Fu, Riabowol, Karl, Robertson, Tony, Roos, Goran, Staessen, Jan A., Spector, Tim, Tang, Nelson, Unryn, Brad, van der Harst, Pim, Woo, Jean, Xing, Chao, Yadegarfar, Mohammed E., Park, Jae Yong, Young, Neal, Kuh, Diana, von Zglinicki, Thomas and Ben-Shlomo, Yoav (2014) Gender and telomere length: systematic review and meta-analysis. Experimental Gerontology, 51, 15-27. (doi:10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004). (PMID:24365661)

Record type: Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory.

METHODS: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression.

RESULTS: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p=1.00) or cell type (p=0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error.

CONCLUSIONS: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 21 December 2013
Published date: March 2014
Keywords: gender, telomere length, systematic review and meta-analysis, measurement methods, epidemiology
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 361855
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/361855
ISSN: 0531-5565
PURE UUID: 6d2c02ed-fef8-4feb-a575-5be61399ea25
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Feb 2014 11:22
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:56

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Contributors

Author: Michael Gardner
Author: David Bann
Author: Laura Wiley
Author: Rachel Cooper
Author: Rebecca Hardy
Author: Dorothea Nitsch
Author: Carmen Martin-Ruiz
Author: Paul Shiels
Author: Avan Aihie Sayer
Author: Michelangela Barbieri
Author: Sofie Bekarert
Author: Claus Bischoff
Author: Angela Brooks-Wilson
Author: Wei Chen
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: Kaare Christiensen
Author: Tim de Meyer
Author: Ian Deary
Author: Geoff Der
Author: Ana Diez Roux
Author: Annette Fitzpatrick
Author: Anjum Hajat
Author: Julius Halaschek-Wiener
Author: Sarah Harris
Author: Steven C. Hunt
Author: Carol Jagger
Author: Hyo-Sung Jeon
Author: Robert Kaplan
Author: Masayuki Kimura
Author: Peter Lansdorp
Author: Changyong Li
Author: Toyoki Maeda
Author: Massimo Mangino
Author: Tim S. Nawrot
Author: Peter Nilsson
Author: Katarina Nordjfall
Author: Guiseppe Paolisso
Author: Fu Ren
Author: Karl Riabowol
Author: Tony Robertson
Author: Goran Roos
Author: Jan A. Staessen
Author: Tim Spector
Author: Nelson Tang
Author: Brad Unryn
Author: Pim van der Harst
Author: Jean Woo
Author: Chao Xing
Author: Mohammed E. Yadegarfar
Author: Jae Yong Park
Author: Neal Young
Author: Diana Kuh
Author: Thomas von Zglinicki
Author: Yoav Ben-Shlomo

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