University of Oulu

Arto Korkiakoski, Aki J. Käräjämäki, Justiina Ronkainen, Juha Auvinen, Jokke Hannuksela, Y. Antero Kesäniemi & Olavi Ukkola (2022) Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its prognosis associates with shorter leucocyte telomeres in a 21-year follow-up study, Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation, 82:3, 173-180, DOI: 10.1080/00365513.2022.2059698

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its prognosis associates with shorter leucocyte telomeres in a 21-year follow-up study

Saved in:
Author: Korkiakoski, Arto1,2; Käräjämäki, Aki J.1,3; Ronkainen, Justiina4,5;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Gastroenterology, Clinics of Internal Medicine, Keski-Pohjanmaa Central Hospital, Kokkola, Finland
3Department of Gastroenterology, Clinics of Internal Medicine, Vaasa Central Hospital, Vaasa, Finland
4Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-21


Leucocyte telomere length (LTL) has been associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but the evidence is imperfect. Furthermore, liver fibrosis has been shown to correlate with mortality and recent studies have also found associations with LTL and fibrosis suggesting that LTL may have additional prognostic value in liver diseases. Our objective was to study the association of LTL and NAFLD and evaluate the association of LTL in prognosis of NAFLD subjects. Study subjects (n = 847) were middle-aged hypertensive patients. All participants were evaluated for NAFLD and their LTL was measured at baseline. Outcomes were obtained from Finnish Causes-of-Death Register and the Care Register for Health Care in Statistics Finland to the end of 2014. An inverse association with NAFLD prevalence and LTL length was observed (p < .001 for trend). Shortest telomere tertile possessed statistically significantly more NAFLD subjects even with multivariate analysis (shortest vs. middle tertile HR 1.98 p = .006 and shortest vs. longest tertile HR 2.03 p = .007). For the study period, mortality of the study group showed statistically significant relation with telomere length in univariate but not for multivariate analysis. In subgroup analysis, LTL did not associate with prognosis of non-NAFLD subjects. However, LTL was inversely associated with overall mortality in the subjects with NAFLD in both univariate (HR 0.16 p = .007) and multivariate analysis (HR 0.20 p = .045). In middle-aged Caucasian cohort, shorter leucocyte telomeres associated independently with increased prevalence of NAFLD. Shorter LTL was not associated with mortality in non-NAFLD patients whereas it predicted mortality of NAFLD patients independently.

see all

Series: Scandinavian journal of clinical & laboratory investigation
ISSN: 0036-5513
ISSN-E: 1502-7686
ISSN-L: 0036-5513
Volume: 82
Issue: 3
Pages: 173 - 180
DOI: 10.1080/00365513.2022.2059698
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This work was supported by Sydäntutkimusäätiö.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.