Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Sep 7;58(9):1240. doi: 10.3390/medicina58091240.
Background and Objectives: To evaluate the association of relative leukocyte telomere length (RLTL) and telomerase complex regulatory markers with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Material and Methods: A case-control study was performed in patients with LHON (≥18 years) and healthy subjects. The diagnosis of LHON was based on a genetic blood test (next-generation sequencing with Illumina MiSeq, computer analysis: BWA2.1 Illumina BaseSpace, Alamut, and mtDNA Variant analyzer 1000 were performed) and diagnostic criteria approved by the LHON disease protocol. Statistical analysis was performed using the standard statistical software package, IBM SPSS Statistics 27. Statistically significant results were considered when p < 0.05. Results: Significantly longer RLTL was observed in LHON patients than in healthy controls (p < 0.001). RLTL was significantly longer in women and men with LOHN than in healthy women and men in the control group (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). In the elderly group (>32 years), RLTL was statistically significantly longer in LHON patients compared with healthy subjects (p < 0.001). The GG genotype of the TERC rs12696304 polymorphism was found to be statistically significantly higher in the LHON group (p = 0.041), and the C allele in the TERC rs12696304 polymorphism was found to be statistically significantly less common in the LHON group (p < 0.001). The RLTL of LHON patients was found to be statistically significantly longer in the TERC rs12696304 polymorphism in all tested genotypes (CC, p = 0.005; CG, p = 0.008; GG, p = 0.025), TEP1 rs1760904 polymorphism in the GA genotype (p < 0.001), and TEP1 gene rs1713418 in the AA and AG genotypes (p = 0.011 and p < 0.001, respectively). Conclusions: The RLTL in LHON patients was found to be longer than in healthy subjects regardless of treatment with idebenone. The TERC rs12696304 polymorphism, of all studied polymorphisms, was the most significantly associated with changes in LHON and telomere length.