, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 89-97
Date: 13 May 2009

The effect of telomere length, a marker of biological aging, on bone mineral density in elderly population

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Telomere length (TL), as a reflection of aging and inflammatory processes, may be associated with bone mineral density (BMD). This study examines the association between TL and BMD cross-sectionally and the rate of bone loss over a 4-year period in 1,867 Chinese elderly community living subjects. After adjusting for confounding factors, no association was observed with BMD or bone loss. The decline in BMD with aging is not reflected by corresponding changes in telomere length.


Bone mineral density (BMD) is influenced by the dynamics of aging, inflammatory, and bone remodeling processes. Telomere length (TL) is a reflection of the former two processes and may also be associated with bone loss.


Hip BMD was measured in 1,867 Chinese elderly community living subjects and the relationship between leukocyte TL measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and bone loss after 4 years was examined.


Women had greater bone loss than men. In women, age of menopause, menarche, estrogen treatment/replacement therapy, and history of previous fracture were also among the significant covariates. However, in multivariate analyses, TL was not associated with BMD in either sex.


TL was not associated with either baseline BMD or bone loss over 4 years and accounted for less than 1.6% of the baseline BMD.