Research Paper Volume 14, Issue 1 pp 354—367

Telomere length is maternally inherited and associated with lipid metabolism in Chinese population

Liyun Guo1,3, *, , Yajuan Chen2, *, , Huiqin Li1, , Fanqian Yin1,4, , Mingxia Ge1,4, , Li Hu1,5, , Meiting Zi1, , Zhenghong Qin3, , Yonghan He1, ,

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Healthy Aging Research of Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
  • 2 School of Rehabilitation, Kunming Medical University, Kunming 650500, China
  • 3 Department of Pharmacology and Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Diseases and Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuropsychiatric Diseases, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
  • 4 Kunming College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 5 College of Basic Medicine and Life Sciences, Hainan Medical University, Haikou 571199, China
* Equal contribution

Received: June 24, 2021       Accepted: December 25, 2021       Published: January 7, 2022
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2022 Guo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Telomere is a unique DNA-protein complex which covers the ends of chromosomes to avoid end fusion and maintain the stability and integrity of chromosomes. Telomere length (TL) shortening has been linked to aging and various age-related diseases in humans. Here we recruited a total of 1031 Chinese individuals aged between 12 and 111 years, including 108 families with parents and their offspring. DNA was extracted from peripheral white blood cells and TL was measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR). We explored the associations of TL with age, gender and clinical variables, and tested the parental effects on TL variation. First, we found that TL was shortened with age, however, TL was better maintained in females than males. Second, there was a robust association of TL between mother and offspring, but not between father and their offspring. In addition, TL was inversely associated with visceral fat index in females, and positively associated with apolipoprotein A levels. Knockdown of the key genes for lipid metabolism (PNPLA2 and CPT1) shortened the TL in HepG2 cells. These findings indicate that TL is maternally inherited, and impairment of lipid metabolism may contribute to the TL shortening in the Chinese population.


ALP: alkaline phosphatase; ALT: alanine transaminase; AST: aspartate transaminase; BFR: body fat rate; BMI: body mass index; BMR: basic metabolism rate; BOM: bone mass; Cre: creatinine; DBP: diastolic blood pressure; Glu: blood glucose; HDL: high-density lipoprotein; PBW: percent body water; LDL: low-density lipoprotein; SBP: systolic blood pressure; TB: total bilirubin; TC: total cholesterol; TG: triglyceride; UA: uric acid; VFI: visceral fat index.