Association between telomere length and completed suicide observed in 71 suicide victims – Preliminary findings

Hyeyoung Kim, Sung Joon Cho, Seong Ho Yoo, Se Hyun Kim, Yong Min Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Telomere length has emerged as a cumulative marker for lifestyle, psychosocial stress, and cytotoxic environments. We aimed to examine the possible association between leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and completed suicide. Methods: This study included 71 suicide completers and 117 healthy controls for whom LTL was determined by the ratio of the telomere repeat copy number to the single-copy gene copy number (T/S ratio). We compared the LTL between the suicide completers and the healthy controls and estimated the odds ratio (OR) for suicide for each age group, applying a generalized estimating equation (GEE). Results: LTL was significantly shortened in the suicide completers as compared with the controls, overall subjects, or within-age categories (≤29 and 30–49 years). Furthermore, a longer LTL was associated with significantly decreased odds of completed suicide for those aged ≤29 years and 30–49 years (OR = 0.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.03–0.37, p <.001 for the ≤29-year age group; OR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.34–0.84, p =.006 for the 30- to 49-year age group). Conclusions: This study provides evidence regarding the relationship between shortened LTL and completed suicide, especially in those aged <50 years. Future research should further assess potential confounders and examine underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Leukocyte telomere length
  • Suicide
  • Suicide completers
  • Suicide risk
  • Telomere


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