Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Michael Gardner, David Bann, Laura Wiley, Rachel Cooper, Rebecca Hardy, Dorothea Nitsch, Carmen Martin-Ruiz, Paul Shiels, Avan Aihie Sayer, Michelangela Barbieri, Sofie Bekaert, Claus Bischoff, Angela Brooks-Wilson, Wei Chen, Cyrus Cooper, Kaare Christensen, Tim De Meyer, Ian Deary, Geoff Der, Ana Diez RouxAnnette Fitzpatrick, Anjum Hajat, Julius Halaschek-Wiener, Sarah Harris, Steven C. Hunt, Carol Jagger, Hyo Sung Jeon, Robert Kaplan, Masayuki Kimura, Peter Lansdorp, Changyong Li, Toyoki Maeda, Massimo Mangino, Tim S. Nawrot, Peter Nilsson, Katarina Nordfjall, Giuseppe Paolisso, Fu Ren, Karl Riabowol, Tony Robertson, Goran Roos, Jan A. Staessen, Tim Spector, Nelson Tang, Brad Unryn, Pim van der Harst, Jean Woo, Chao Xing, Mohammad E. Yadegarfar, Jae Yong Park, Neal Young, Diana Kuh, Thomas von Zglinicki, Yoav Ben-Shlomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. Methods: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Results: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Conclusions: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

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Random errors
Telomere
Measurement errors
Meta-Analysis
Southern Blotting
MEDLINE
Sample Size
Observational Studies
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Age Groups
Regression Analysis
Research Personnel
Research

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Gender
  • Measurement methods
  • Systematic review and meta-analysis
  • Telomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Gardner, M., Bann, D., Wiley, L., Cooper, R., Hardy, R., Nitsch, D., ... Ben-Shlomo, Y. (2014). Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Experimental Gerontology, 51(1), 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004

Gender and telomere length : Systematic review and meta-analysis. / Gardner, Michael; Bann, David; Wiley, Laura; Cooper, Rachel; Hardy, Rebecca; Nitsch, Dorothea; Martin-Ruiz, Carmen; Shiels, Paul; Sayer, Avan Aihie; Barbieri, Michelangela; Bekaert, Sofie; Bischoff, Claus; Brooks-Wilson, Angela; Chen, Wei; Cooper, Cyrus; Christensen, Kaare; De Meyer, Tim; Deary, Ian; Der, Geoff; Roux, Ana Diez; Fitzpatrick, Annette; Hajat, Anjum; Halaschek-Wiener, Julius; Harris, Sarah; Hunt, Steven C.; Jagger, Carol; Jeon, Hyo Sung; Kaplan, Robert; Kimura, Masayuki; Lansdorp, Peter; Li, Changyong; Maeda, Toyoki; Mangino, Massimo; Nawrot, Tim S.; Nilsson, Peter; Nordfjall, Katarina; Paolisso, Giuseppe; Ren, Fu; Riabowol, Karl; Robertson, Tony; Roos, Goran; Staessen, Jan A.; Spector, Tim; Tang, Nelson; Unryn, Brad; van der Harst, Pim; Woo, Jean; Xing, Chao; Yadegarfar, Mohammad E.; Park, Jae Yong; Young, Neal; Kuh, Diana; von Zglinicki, Thomas; Ben-Shlomo, Yoav.

In: Experimental Gerontology, Vol. 51, No. 1, 03.2014, p. 15-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gardner, M, Bann, D, Wiley, L, Cooper, R, Hardy, R, Nitsch, D, Martin-Ruiz, C, Shiels, P, Sayer, AA, Barbieri, M, Bekaert, S, Bischoff, C, Brooks-Wilson, A, Chen, W, Cooper, C, Christensen, K, De Meyer, T, Deary, I, Der, G, Roux, AD, Fitzpatrick, A, Hajat, A, Halaschek-Wiener, J, Harris, S, Hunt, SC, Jagger, C, Jeon, HS, Kaplan, R, Kimura, M, Lansdorp, P, Li, C, Maeda, T, Mangino, M, Nawrot, TS, Nilsson, P, Nordfjall, K, Paolisso, G, Ren, F, Riabowol, K, Robertson, T, Roos, G, Staessen, JA, Spector, T, Tang, N, Unryn, B, van der Harst, P, Woo, J, Xing, C, Yadegarfar, ME, Park, JY, Young, N, Kuh, D, von Zglinicki, T & Ben-Shlomo, Y 2014, 'Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis', Experimental Gerontology, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004
Gardner M, Bann D, Wiley L, Cooper R, Hardy R, Nitsch D et al. Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Experimental Gerontology. 2014 Mar;51(1):15-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.12.004
Gardner, Michael ; Bann, David ; Wiley, Laura ; Cooper, Rachel ; Hardy, Rebecca ; Nitsch, Dorothea ; Martin-Ruiz, Carmen ; Shiels, Paul ; Sayer, Avan Aihie ; Barbieri, Michelangela ; Bekaert, Sofie ; Bischoff, Claus ; Brooks-Wilson, Angela ; Chen, Wei ; Cooper, Cyrus ; Christensen, Kaare ; De Meyer, Tim ; Deary, Ian ; Der, Geoff ; Roux, Ana Diez ; Fitzpatrick, Annette ; Hajat, Anjum ; Halaschek-Wiener, Julius ; Harris, Sarah ; Hunt, Steven C. ; Jagger, Carol ; Jeon, Hyo Sung ; Kaplan, Robert ; Kimura, Masayuki ; Lansdorp, Peter ; Li, Changyong ; Maeda, Toyoki ; Mangino, Massimo ; Nawrot, Tim S. ; Nilsson, Peter ; Nordfjall, Katarina ; Paolisso, Giuseppe ; Ren, Fu ; Riabowol, Karl ; Robertson, Tony ; Roos, Goran ; Staessen, Jan A. ; Spector, Tim ; Tang, Nelson ; Unryn, Brad ; van der Harst, Pim ; Woo, Jean ; Xing, Chao ; Yadegarfar, Mohammad E. ; Park, Jae Yong ; Young, Neal ; Kuh, Diana ; von Zglinicki, Thomas ; Ben-Shlomo, Yoav. / Gender and telomere length : Systematic review and meta-analysis. In: Experimental Gerontology. 2014 ; Vol. 51, No. 1. pp. 15-27.
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abstract = "Background: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. Methods: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Results: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95{\%} CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Conclusions: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.",
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AU - Bann, David

AU - Wiley, Laura

AU - Cooper, Rachel

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AU - Nitsch, Dorothea

AU - Martin-Ruiz, Carmen

AU - Shiels, Paul

AU - Sayer, Avan Aihie

AU - Barbieri, Michelangela

AU - Bekaert, Sofie

AU - Bischoff, Claus

AU - Brooks-Wilson, Angela

AU - Chen, Wei

AU - Cooper, Cyrus

AU - Christensen, Kaare

AU - De Meyer, Tim

AU - Deary, Ian

AU - Der, Geoff

AU - Roux, Ana Diez

AU - Fitzpatrick, Annette

AU - Hajat, Anjum

AU - Halaschek-Wiener, Julius

AU - Harris, Sarah

AU - Hunt, Steven C.

AU - Jagger, Carol

AU - Jeon, Hyo Sung

AU - Kaplan, Robert

AU - Kimura, Masayuki

AU - Lansdorp, Peter

AU - Li, Changyong

AU - Maeda, Toyoki

AU - Mangino, Massimo

AU - Nawrot, Tim S.

AU - Nilsson, Peter

AU - Nordfjall, Katarina

AU - Paolisso, Giuseppe

AU - Ren, Fu

AU - Riabowol, Karl

AU - Robertson, Tony

AU - Roos, Goran

AU - Staessen, Jan A.

AU - Spector, Tim

AU - Tang, Nelson

AU - Unryn, Brad

AU - van der Harst, Pim

AU - Woo, Jean

AU - Xing, Chao

AU - Yadegarfar, Mohammad E.

AU - Park, Jae Yong

AU - Young, Neal

AU - Kuh, Diana

AU - von Zglinicki, Thomas

AU - Ben-Shlomo, Yoav

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N2 - Background: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. Methods: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Results: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Conclusions: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.

AB - Background: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. Methods: We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Results: Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Conclusions: Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.

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KW - Gender

KW - Measurement methods

KW - Systematic review and meta-analysis

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