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Parallel telomere shortening in multiple body tissues owing to malaria infection

Asghar, Muhammad; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Zaghdoudi-Allan, Nadège; Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Mukhin, Andrey; Platonova, Elena; Färnert, Anna; Bensch, Staffan LU and Hasselquist, Dennis LU (2016) In Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283(1836).
Abstract

Several studies have shown associations between shorter telomere length in blood and weakened immune function, susceptibility to infections, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, we have shown that malaria accelerates telomere attrition in blood cells and shortens lifespan in birds. However, the impact of infections on telomere attrition in different body tissues within an individual is unknown. Here, we tested whether malarial infection leads to parallel telomere shortening in blood and tissue samples from different organs. We experimentally infected siskins (Spinus spinus) with the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi, and used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to measure telomere length... (More)

Several studies have shown associations between shorter telomere length in blood and weakened immune function, susceptibility to infections, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, we have shown that malaria accelerates telomere attrition in blood cells and shortens lifespan in birds. However, the impact of infections on telomere attrition in different body tissues within an individual is unknown. Here, we tested whether malarial infection leads to parallel telomere shortening in blood and tissue samples from different organs. We experimentally infected siskins (Spinus spinus) with the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi, and used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to measure telomere length in control and experimentally infected siskins. We found that experimentally infected birds showed faster telomere attrition in blood over the course of infection compared with control individuals (repeatedly measured over 105 days post-infection (DPI)). Shorter telomeres were also found in the tissue of all six major organs investigated (liver, lungs, spleen, heart, kidney, and brain) in infected birds compared with controls at 105 DPI. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study showing that an infectious disease results in synchronous telomere shortening in the blood and tissue cells of internal organs within individuals, implying that the infection induces systemic stress. Our results have far-reaching implications for understanding how the short-term effects of an infection can translate into long-term costs, such as organ dysfunction, degenerative diseases, and ageing.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Journal Article
in
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
volume
283
issue
1836
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84982255276
ISSN
1471-2954
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2016.1184
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4323ef3b-423f-4a5b-b29a-965373f43097
date added to LUP
2016-09-22 13:46:38
date last changed
2016-11-14 09:43:04
@misc{4323ef3b-423f-4a5b-b29a-965373f43097,
  abstract     = {<p>Several studies have shown associations between shorter telomere length in blood and weakened immune function, susceptibility to infections, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, we have shown that malaria accelerates telomere attrition in blood cells and shortens lifespan in birds. However, the impact of infections on telomere attrition in different body tissues within an individual is unknown. Here, we tested whether malarial infection leads to parallel telomere shortening in blood and tissue samples from different organs. We experimentally infected siskins (Spinus spinus) with the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi, and used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to measure telomere length in control and experimentally infected siskins. We found that experimentally infected birds showed faster telomere attrition in blood over the course of infection compared with control individuals (repeatedly measured over 105 days post-infection (DPI)). Shorter telomeres were also found in the tissue of all six major organs investigated (liver, lungs, spleen, heart, kidney, and brain) in infected birds compared with controls at 105 DPI. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study showing that an infectious disease results in synchronous telomere shortening in the blood and tissue cells of internal organs within individuals, implying that the infection induces systemic stress. Our results have far-reaching implications for understanding how the short-term effects of an infection can translate into long-term costs, such as organ dysfunction, degenerative diseases, and ageing.</p>},
  author       = {Asghar, Muhammad and Palinauskas, Vaidas and Zaghdoudi-Allan, Nadège and Valkiūnas, Gediminas and Mukhin, Andrey and Platonova, Elena and Färnert, Anna and Bensch, Staffan and Hasselquist, Dennis},
  issn         = {1471-2954},
  keyword      = {Journal Article},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {1836},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9db8508)},
  series       = {Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences},
  title        = {Parallel telomere shortening in multiple body tissues owing to malaria infection},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1184},
  volume       = {283},
  year         = {2016},
}