Is Telomere Length a Risk Factor for Depression in Young Girls?
Researchers found that 12-year-old girls with a family history of depression have shorter telomere lengths than girls with no family history of depression. Telomeres are found on the ends of chromosomes and help keep them from fraying or sticking together. They have been observed to naturally shorten in length with age, but oxidative stress and other DNA-damaging processes can also cause reduce their length. The research team states, “The results of this study indicate that healthy children at familial risk for depression have shorter telomeres than do their non-risk peers. Thus, telomere shortening appears to be an antecedent to, and potentially a risk factor for, the onset of depression.”
Molecular Psychiatry, September 2014