Cytogenet. Genome Res., 112, 194- 201

Sex-specific telomere length profiles and age-dependent erosion dynamics of individual chromosome arms in humans.

S. Mayer, S. Brüderlein, S. Perner, I. Waibel, A. Holdenried, N. Ciloglu, C. Hasel, T. Mattfeldt, K.V. Nielsen, P. Möller

During aging, telomeres are gradually shortened, eventually leading to cellular senescence. By T/C-FISH (telomere/centromere-FISH), we investigated human telomere length differences on single chromosome arms of 205 individuals in different age groups and sexes. For all chromosome arms, we found a linear correlation between telomere length and donor age. Generally, males had shorter telomeres and higher attrition rates. Every chromosome arm had its individual age-specific telomere length and erosion pattern, resulting in an unexpected heterogeneity in chromosome-specific regression lines. This differential erosion pattern, however, does not seem to be accidental, since we found a correlation between average telomere length of single chromosome arms in newborns and their annual attrition rate. Apart from the above-mentioned sex-specific discrepancies, chromosome arm-specific telomere lengths were strikingly similar in men and women. This implies a mechanism that arm specifically regulates the telomere length independent of gender, thus leading to interchromosomal telomere variations.

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