Associations Between Whole Genome Sequencing-Derived Telomere Length and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

Project: Research project

Description

Lay Summary
1. What is the major problem being addressed by this study?
Our research aims to understand the role of telomere shortening in the development of changes that ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease. Telomeres are ‘caps’ on our DNA that shorten with aging, and thus are believed to be a potential cellular marker of age and related to the development of age-related diseases including cardiovascular disease. We will use a new method for measuring telomeres that is more specific than standard approaches to calculate telomere length; this will allow us to examine telomeres on individual chromosomes (as opposed to average telomere length across all of a person’s DNA).
2. What specific questions are you asking and how will you attempt to answer them?
By examining chromosome-specific telomere length, we hope to understand how telomeres can affect specific genes and thus facilitate the development of cardiovascular disease. In turn, this would give us insight into how cardiovascular disease develops on the molecular level, and could help resolve the inconsistent findings linking telomeres to cardiovascular disease risk in prior research studies. In addition, we hope to demonstrate that this new method for measuring telomere length is viable and comparable to the current, standard method- and in so doing provide future population studies a powerful new research tool.
2. Overall, what is the potential impact of this work to the mission of the AHA?
Linking changes in specific telomeres to cardiovascular disease risk could provide an easy-to-use blood test for cardiovascular disease before it can be conventionally detected. This would, in turn, allow physicians to intervene earlier and try to prevent cardiovascular disease from worsening before it causes pain, functional limitations, or becomes potentially fatal.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/22

Funding

  • American Heart Association (19CDA34630050)

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Telomere
Young Adult
Coronary Vessels
Cardiovascular Diseases
Genome
Chromosomes
Research
Telomere Shortening
DNA
Hematologic Tests
Physicians
Pain