Telomere length, aggregates, and capture in cirrhosis

Ido Laish*, Amir Mari, Batya Mannasse, Ruth Hadary, Fred Meir Konikoff, Aliza Amiel, Yona Kitay-Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Shortened telomeres were found in patients with cirrhosis, probably reflecting chronic liver injury, continuous regeneration, and destruction of hepatic nodules. Objectives: To test whether telomere shortening is a general marker of cirrhosis, independent of disease etiology. Methods: We evaluated telomere length in patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (largely a late sequela of steatohepatitis) compared to patients with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B and C (HBV/HCV). We also evaluated telomere aggregates, a sensitive parameter of telomere dysfunction and genetic instability. We analyzed peripheral lymphocytes from 25 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, 15 patients with cirrhosis due to chronic viral hepatitis, and 20 age-matched controls. Telomere length was analyzed using quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Aggregate size was divided into three fusion groups of 2–5, 6–10, and 11–15 telomeres, relative to the size of a single telomere. Results: Shorter telomere length was found in patients with cirrhosis from all three etiologies (mean 121.3 ± 24.1) compared to controls (mean 63.5 ± 23.5). In contrast, there was significantly more fusion of > 5 telomeres only in the HBV/HCV cirrhosis group compared to healthy controls (P = 0.023), but not in the cryptogenic cirrhosis group. Conclusions: While shortened telomeres in peripheral lymphocytes are a general marker of liver cirrhosis, telomere aggregates may signify a more sensitive genetic instability parameter for the diverse, etiology-based malignant potential of cirrhosis. This finding is in agreement with the well-known higher tendency toward developing hepatocellular carcinoma with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis relative to steatohepatitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-299
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume20
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

Funding

FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University

    Keywords

    • Cirrhosis
    • Telomere aggregates
    • Telomere length
    • Telomeres
    • Viral hepatitis

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