Shorter telomere length in people with schizophrenia who live alone?

Ryan P. Balzan, Varinderpal S. Dhillon, Dennis Liu, Lisa Hahn, Michael Fenech, Cherrie Galletly

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Dear Editor,
Human telomeres are repeated DNA-protein sequences (i.e., TTAGGG) that cap the ends of chromosomes and protect against chromosomal instability during cell replication (Blackburn and Epel, 2012). However, as a consequence of cell division, telomeres progressively get shorter with age, and a number of environmental factors, including psychosocial stress, may accelerate this shortening (Lin et al., 2012). Recent studies have found that shorter telomere length may be associated with schizophrenia (Rao et al., 2016), however, the specific contributing factors remain unknown. In this secondary analysis of our investigation of telomere length in people with schizophrenia in an Australian sample (Galletly et al., 2017), we explore the relationship between telomere length and perceived stress in a sample of young men with schizophrenia, given the well replicated association between telomere attrition and psychosocial stress (e.g., Lin et al., 2012). We also explore the role of social isolation and loneliness, which is more prevalent in people with psychosis (Badcock et al., 2015) and has been linked with higher stress and mortality (Steptoe et al., 2013), and ultimately shorter telomere length (Carroll et al., 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-423
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • schizophrenia
  • chromosomal instability
  • telomeres


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