Decreased telomere length in the small airway epithelium suggests accelerated aging in the lungs of persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Xu, Stella; Vucic, Emily A; Shaipanich, Tawimas; Lam, Stephen; Lam, Wan; Montaner, Julio S; Sin, Don D; Paul Man, S. F; Leung, Janice M
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) independent of cigarette smoke exposure. Previous studies have demonstrated that decreased peripheral leukocyte telomere length is associated with HIV, suggesting an accelerated aging phenomenon. We demonstrate that this process of telomere shortening also occurs in the lungs, with significant decreases in telomere length observed in small airway epithelial cells collected during bronchoscopy. Molecular evidence of accelerated aging in the small airway epithelium of persons living with HIV may be one clue into the predisposition for chronic lung disease observed in this population.
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