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Research Groups




Group Members

Frej Fyhrquist, M.D., Dr.Med.Sci., Dhc, Professor emeritus
Outi Saijonmaa, Ph.D., Docent
Anders Eriksson-Palojärvi, DVM


The team has studied leucocyte telomere length (LTL) in more than 5000 subjects to-date and examined LTL in comparison with various behaviors and medical and genetic profiles. For example, in the Helsinki Businessman Study, LTL was inversely related to smoking and body mass index during a long follow-up period, from 1964–1973 to 2002–2003, during which DNA for telomere measurement was isolated from blood leucocytes of 622 participants. Moreover, we discovered associations of LTL with 1) alcohol consumption, 2) physical activity, and 3) insertion deletion (I/D) polymorphism of the angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) gene.

A new study, focusing on telomeres and cardiovascular health in the young, was started in 2012 in collaboration with Professor A. Jula (Institute of Health and Welfare, Turku) as a sub-study of the STRIP project (Sepelvaltimotaudin Riskitekijöiden Interventio Projekti) comprising >500 subjects, each in the intervention and control groups, with follow-up covering early childhood to maturity. This study has been ongoing during 2013–2014, and results will be analyzed during early 2015. Preliminary results suggest that healthy life style intervention is associated with slower telomere attrition compared with controls.

DVM Anders Eriksson has published a study in Cavalier King Charles spaniels with mitral regurgitation showing the predictive value of NT.proANP measurements in the evaluation of congestive heart failure.

Contact info:

Frej Fyhrquist, M.D., Dr.Med.Sci., Dhc, Professor emeritus
E-mail: frej.fyhrquist@helsinki.fi
Tel: +358 2941 25709

Selected publications

Rimpelä JM, Kontula KK, Fyhrquist F, Donner KM, Tuiskula AM, Sarin AP, Mohney RP, Stirdivant SM, Hiltunen TP. Replicated evidence for aminoacylase 3 and nephrin gene variations to predict antihypertensive drug responses. Pharmacogenomics. 2017; 18:445-458.

Sack MN, Fyhrquist FY, Saijonmaa OJ, Fuster V, Kovacic JC. Basic Biology of Oxidative Stress and the Cardiovascular System: Part 1 of a 3-Part Series. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017; 70:196-211.

Fyhrquist F, Saijonmaa O. “Modifiable factors influencing telomere length and aging” In: Inflammation, aging, and oxidative stress (S.C.Bondy and A.Campbell, eds.) Springer International Publishing Switzerland, Cham, Switzerland, 2016. DOI 10.10077/978-3-31933486-8.

Fyhrquist F, Nilsson PM. Chapter 20: Telomere biology and vascular aging. Early Vascular Aging (EVA), NEW DIRECTIONS IN CARDIOVASCULAR PROTECTION. Edited by Peter M. Nilsson, Michael H. Olsen and Stéphane Laurent. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Fyhrquist F, Saijonmaa O. Telomeerit ja ikääntymiseen liittyvät sairaudet. Erikoislääkäri 2/2015, 25vsk.

Eriksson AS, Häggström J, Pedersen HD, Hansson K, Järvinen AK, Haukka J, Kvart C. Increased NT-proANP predicts risk of congestive heart failure in Cavalier King Charles spaniels with mitral regurgitation caused by myxomatous valve disease. J Vet Cardiol. 2014; 16:141–154.

Fyhrquist F, Saijonmaa O, Strandberg T. The roles of senescence and telomere shortening in cardiovascular disease. Nat Rev Cardiol 2013; 10:274-83.

Strandberg TE, Saijonmaa O, Fyhrquist F. RE: “Association of leukocyte telomere length with breast cancer risk: nested case-control findings from the Shanghai women’s health study”. Am J Epidemiol. 2013; 178:662–3.

Fyhrquist F, Eriksson A, Saijonmaa O, Nordestgaard BG, Kontula K, de Faire U, Ibsen H, Kjeldsen S, Os I, Dahlöf B. Leukocyte telomere length is associated with ACE insertion/deletion polymorphism in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. J Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone Syst 2013; 14:227-34.

Immonen I, Seitsonen S, Saijonmaa O, Fyhrquist F. Leucocyte telomere length in age-related macular degeneration. Acta Ophtalmol 2013; 91:453-6.

Savela S, Saijonmaa O, Strandberg TE, Koistinen P, Strandberg AY, Tilvis RS, Pitk.l. KH, Miettinen TA, Fyhrquist F. Physical activity and telomere length measured in old age. Exp Gerontol 2013; 48:81-4.

Fyhrquist F. Kohonneen verenpaineen tiukka hoito diabeteksessa – vähempikin riittää. (Tight blood pressure control of hypertension in diabetes – less is enough). Suomen Lääkärilehti 2012; 67:672-673.

Fyhrquist F, Saijonmaa O. Telomere length and cardiovascular aging. Ann Med 2012; 44:S138-42.

Strandberg T, Strandberg AY, Saijonmaa O, Tilvis RS, Pitk.l. KH, Fyhrquist F. Association between alcohol consumption in healthy midlife Long-term alcohol consumption and telomere length in older men. Eur J Epidemiol 2012; 27:815-22.

Fyhrquist F, Silventoinen K, Saijonmaa O, Kontula K, de Faire U, Os I, Dahlöf B. Telomere length and cardiovascular risk in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy, the LIFE study. J Hum Hypertens. 2011; 25:711–8.

Strandberg TE, Saijonmaa O, Tilvis RS, Pitkälä KH, Strandberg AY, Salomaa V, Miettinen TA, Fyhrquist F. Telomere length in old age and cholesterol across the life course. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011; 59:1979–81.

Strandberg TE, Saijonmaa O, Tilvis RS, Pitkälä KH, Strandberg AY, Miettinen TA, Fyhrquist F. Assosiation of telomere length in older men with mortality and midlife body mass index and smoking. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011; 66:815–20.


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