Leucocyte telomere length is no molecular marker of physical frailty in late-life depression

Matheus H.L. Arts*, Rose M. Collard, Hannie C. Comijs, Linda de Jonge, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Paul Naarding, Rob M. Kok, Richard C. Oude Voshaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Although average life-expectancy is still increasing worldwide, ageing processes markedly differ between individuals, which has stimulated the search for biomarkers of biological ageing. Objectives: Firstly, to explore the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between leucocyte telomere length (LTL) as molecular marker of ageing and the physical frailty phenotype (PFP) as a clinical marker of ageing and secondly, to examine whether these associations are moderated by the presence of a depressive disorder, as depression can be considered a condition of accelerated ageing. Methods: Among 378 depressed older patients (according to DSM-IV criteria) and 132 non-depressed older persons participating in the Netherlands Study of Depression in Older persons, we have assessed the physical frailty phenotype and LTL. The PFP was defined according to Fried's criteria and its components were reassessed at two-year follow-up. Results: LTL was neither associated with the PFP at baseline by Spearman rank correlation tests, nor did it predict change in frailty parameters over a two-year follow-up using regression analyses adjusted for potential confounders. Conclusion: LTL is not associated with frailty; neither in non-depressed nor in depressed older persons. As LTL and physical frailty appear to represent different aspects of ageing, they may complement each other in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

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