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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 5371050, 9 pages
Research Article

Systematic and Cell Type-Specific Telomere Length Changes in Subsets of Lymphocytes

1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
2Division of Epidemiology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
4School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
5Core Immunology Lab, Division of Experimental Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

Received 22 October 2015; Accepted 27 December 2015

Academic Editor: Eyad Elkord

Copyright © 2016 Jue Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Telomeres, the protective DNA-protein complexes at the ends of linear chromosomes, are important for genome stability. Leukocyte or peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) telomere length is a potential biomarker for human aging that integrates genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors and is associated with mortality and risks for major diseases. However, only a limited number of studies have examined longitudinal changes of telomere length and few have reported data on sorted circulating immune cells. We examined the average telomere length (TL) in CD4+, CD8+CD28+, and CD8+CD28− T cells, B cells, and PBMCs, cross-sectionally and longitudinally, in a cohort of premenopausal women. We report that TL changes over 18 months were correlated among these three T cell types within the same participant. Additionally, PBMC TL change was also correlated with those of all three T cell types, and B cells. The rate of shortening for B cells was significantly greater than for the three T cell types. CD8+CD28− cells, despite having the shortest TL, showed significantly more rapid attrition when compared to CD8+CD28+ T cells. These results suggest systematically coordinated, yet cell type-specific responses to factors and pathways contribute to telomere length regulation.