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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Greaves, Ronda / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter

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Volume 57, Issue 9


Subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution and telomere length

Harald Mangge
  • Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Wilfried RennerORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6199-4382 / Gunter Almer
  • Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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/ Hans-Jürgen Gruber
  • Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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/ Sieglinde Zelzer
  • Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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/ Reinhard Moeller
  • Otto Loewi Research Center (for Vascular Biology, Immunology and Inflammation), Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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/ Renate Horejsi
  • Otto Loewi Research Center (for Vascular Biology, Immunology and Inflammation), Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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/ Markus Herrmann
  • Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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Published Online: 2019-03-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2018-0801



Overweight and obese individuals have a reduced life expectancy due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. Systemic inflammation and premature telomere shortening have been discussed as potential mechanisms linking these conditions. We investigated the relation of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) distribution to leukocyte relative telomere length (RTL).


We measured RTL in 375 participants of the observational STYJOBS/EDECTA cohort (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00482924) using a qPCR based method. SAT distribution was determined by lipometry yielding a percent body fat value and SAT thicknesses at 15 standardized locations across the entire body. A correlation analysis between RTL, age, sex, lipometry data and conventional body measures (body mass index [BMI], waist-, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio) was calculated. The strongest determinants of RTL were determined by a stepwise multiple regression analysis.


RTL was not associated with age or sex. RTL was significantly negatively correlated with BMI, percent body fat, waist-, hip circumference and waist-to-height ratio. Furthermore, RTL correlated with SAT at the following locations: neck, triceps, biceps, upper back, front chest, lateral chest, upper abdomen, lower abdomen, lower back, hip, front thigh, lateral thigh, rear thigh and calf. Stepwise regression analysis revealed nuchal and hip SAT as the strongest predictors of RTL. No significant association was seen between RTL and waist-to-hip ratio.


RTL is negatively associated with parameters describing body fat composure. Nuchal and hip SAT thicknesses are the strongest predictors of RTL. Central obesity appears to correlate with premature genomic aging.

Keywords: BMI; leukocyte telomere length; obesity; subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution


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About the article

Corresponding author: Assoz-Prof. Dr. Wilfried Renner, Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, 8036 Graz, Austria, Phone: +43 316 385 13145, Fax: +43 316 385 13430

Received: 2018-07-26

Accepted: 2019-03-01

Published Online: 2019-03-26

Published in Print: 2019-08-27

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM), Volume 57, Issue 9, Pages 1358–1363, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2018-0801.

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