Associations of TERC single nucleotide polymorphisms with human leukocyte telomere length and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Rasha Al Khaldi, Olusegun Mojiminiyi, Fahd Al-Mulla, Nabila Abdella

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Previous Studies have mapped putative loci that may probably regulate leukocyte telomere length (LTL). The strongest associations with LTL were reported for SNP rs12696304 and rs16847897 near the non-coding Ribose Nucleic Acid (RNA) molecule component (TERC) of telomerase enzyme on 3q26. It is unclear whether these identified loci coding functional components of telomerase, exert a similar effect on LTL in other populations or influence risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). The present study was performed to: study the influence of TERC polymorphisms on LTL, human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), indices of obesity and explore the potential associations with T2DM. 225 T2DM patients and 245 age and sex matched controls were studied. Allelic Discrimination (AD) genotyping was utilized to determine TERC SNPs [rs12696304 and rs16847897]. hTERT, adiponectin, Insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA-IR), and LTL were measured. Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were recorded. [CC] genotype of rs16847897 was significantly associated with shorter LTL [OR = 1.6, p = 0.004], lower hTERT levels [OR = 0.4, p = 0.006], higher BMI [OR = 2.2, p = 0.006], larger WC [OR = 23.4, p = 0.007] and hypo-adiponectemia [OR = 0.6, p = 0.006]. [GG] genotype of rs12696304 was also significantly associated with shorter LTL [OR = 1.5, p = 0.004], lower hTERT [OR = 0.7, p = 0.006] but with larger WC[OR = 5.3, p = 0.004]. [CC] genotype of rs16847897 and [GG] genotype of rs12696304 together increased the risk of T2DM significantly [OR = 1.7, p = 0.004]. We provide insights connecting a structure that is critically involved in maintaining genomic stability with obesity and T2DM. Given the central role of telomere length in determining telomere function our findings may expand our understanding of the pathological mechanisms underlying age associated conditions such as T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0145721
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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