Title – Telomere shortening in late‐life depression: A potential marker of depression severity

Authors: Ana Paula Mendes‐Silva, Erica M. Vieira, Gabriela Xavier, Lucelia Scarabeli Silva Barroso, Laiss Bertola, Efrem Augusto Ribeiro Martins, Elisa Macedo Brietzke, Sintia Iole Nogueira Belangero, Breno S. Diniz.


Telomeres are structures at the extremity of chromosomes that prevents genomic instability, and its shortening seems to be a hallmark of cellular aging. Past studies have shown contradictory results of telomere length (TL) in major depression, and are a few studies in late-life depression (LLD). This explores the association between TL as a molecular marker of aging and diagnosis of LLD, the severity of depressive symptoms, and cognitive performance in older adults. We found that older adults with LLD have shorter telomere than healthy controls  (p = .039), especially those with a more severe depressive episode. Our findings suggest that shorter TL can be a marker of the severity of depressive episodes in older adults and indicate that these individuals may be at higher risk of age-associated adverse outcomes linked to depression.


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