A number of observations suggest a close connection between telomere length and mortality and age-related disease, suggesting that telomere length is a useful marker of individual biological aging and the shortening of telomere length is causally related with the pathogenesis in age-related diseases. To date, the significance of telomere length in metabolic and endocrine diseases has also been clarified. It has been reported that obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), NAFLD, and hypertension were associated with shortened telomere length. In endocrine diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, and acromegaly were associated with shortened telomere length. In these conditions, an increased oxidative stress associated with the metabolic and hormonal abnormalities appears to play a pivotal role in the shortened telomere length. Recently, a large population-based study demonstrated that shortened telomeres at baseline were associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases, suggesting that the shortened telomere itself plays a causal role for the onset or development of the metabolic diseases. In this chapter, the pathophysiological role of shortened telomere length in metabolic and endocrine diseases and the significance of cellular senescence are discussed.
Part of the book: Telomere