A group of scientists from Mexico has proven that the reduction of telomeres (indicators of old age) is associated with the development of Huntington's disease.
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Telomeres, which are peculiar “tips” of chromosomes, are also associated with biological age.
How was the study
The study involved 206 people, of which 106 were healthy, and the second group of participants had Huntington's disease.
Huntington's disease – what is it?
Huntington's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease. The chances of the carrier passing it to any of their children are 50%.
Huntington's disease is one of the most common neurological diseases caused by a single gene mutation. The features of this disease are deposits of protein aggregate in nerve cells – inherent in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
The disease impairs mental health, cognitive and motor functions
It is significant that among the study participants, 71 people had clinical manifestations of the disease, and the remaining 35 people did not observe any symptoms.
Such a sample allowed scientists to track the characteristics of the state of telomeres in the body.
In healthy people of the control group, as well as in volunteers diagnosed with no external signs, the length of the telomeres did not differ significantly.
Moreover, in patients with advanced disease, telomeres were on average one and a half times shorter.
Telomeres contain about 90% of the DNA of the cell
Important is the fact that their reduction was not related to the age of the patients.
The role of telomeres
Scientists have suggested that telomere length reduction occurs in cellular changes in the body, and not due to the presence of a genetic mutation.
Researchers plan to test this hypothesis in the next stages of the study.
The findings indicate that telomere contraction may become a biomarker for the diagnosis and course of Huntington's disease.
While the disease is incurable, it manifests itself in middle-aged and elderly people, affects mental health, cognitive and motor functions.
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