Is Telomere Length a Biomarker of Aging? A Review

Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.42). 10/2010; 66(2):202-13. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glq180
Source: PubMed


Telomeres, the DNA-protein structures located at the ends of chromosomes, have been proposed to act as a biomarker of aging. In this review, the human evidence that telomere length is a biomarker of aging is evaluated. Although telomere length is implicated in cellular aging, the evidence suggesting telomere length is a biomarker of aging in humans is equivocal. More studies examining the relationships between telomere length and mortality and with measures that decline with "normal" aging in community samples are required. These studies would benefit from longitudinal measures of both telomere length and aging-related parameters.

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    • "So, it is unclear whether leukocyte telomere length may be considered as a biomarker of aging and age related diseases (Sanders and Newman, 2013). However , shorter LTL have been found in many age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases (Chen et al., 2011; von Zglinicki and Martin-Ruiz, 2005; Mather et al., 2011; Zhang et al., 2003). Indeed genetic studies in mice have demonstrated that short telomeres rather than average telomere length are associated with age-related diseases and that rescue of short telomeres by telomerase is sufficient to restore cell and organismal viability and genomic stability (Vera et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The old age population is increasing worldwide as well as age related diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), which negatively impacts on the health care systems. Aging represents per se a risk factor for AD. Thus, the study and identification of pathways within the biology of aging represent an important end point for the development of novel and effective disease-modifying drugs to treat, delay, or prevent AD. Cellular senescence and telomere shortening represent suitable and promising targets. Several studies show that cellular senescence is tightly interconnected to aging and AD, while the role of telomere dynamic and stability in AD pathogenesis is still unclear. This review will focus on the linking mechanisms between cellular senescence, telomere shortening and AD. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Ageing Research Reviews 04/2015; 22. DOI:10.1016/j.arr.2015.04.003 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    • "Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences (TTAGGG)n located at the ends of chromosomes and play a crucial role in preventing chromosome fusion and in maintaining genome stability [1,2]. Telomere length is maintained by a cellular enzyme, telomerase, in germ cells and stem cells, while most somatic cells have very low telomerase activity, thus leading to telomere length shortening with cellular division [1,2]. When telomere length reaches a critical point, cellular senescence is triggered, cell division ceases, and the cell dies [1,2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background There have been several reports suggesting that adverse childhood experiences such as physical maltreatment and long institutionalization influence telomere length. However, there has been no study examining the relationship of telomere length with variations in parental rearing. In the present study, we examined the relationship of leukocyte telomere length with parental rearing in healthy subjects.Methods The subjects were 581 unrelated healthy Japanese subjects. Perceived parental rearing was assessed by the Parental Bonding Instrument consisting of the care and protection factors. Leukocyte relative telomere length was determined by a quantitative real-time PCR method for a ratio of telomere/single copy gene.ResultsIn the multiple regression analyses, shorter telomere length in males was related to lower scores of paternal care (ß¿=¿0.139, p¿<¿0.05), while that in females was related to lower scores of maternal care (ß¿=¿0.195, p¿<¿0.01).Conclusion The present study suggests that there is linear relationship between parental care and telomere length which covers both lower and higher ends of parental care, and that the effects of parental care on telomere length are gender-specific in parents and offsprings.
    BMC Psychiatry 10/2014; 14(1):277. DOI:10.1186/s12888-014-0277-9 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "LTL associations have only been found for age, gender, and race, whereas association to most other phenotypes, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity , diets, socioeconomic status and education, body mass index, lipid levels, markers of glucose metabolism, and blood pressure was inconsistent across studies (Sanders and Newman, 2013). Thus, whether telomere length may be considered as a biomarker of aging and age related diseases is still not clear (Sanders and Newman, 2013); however shorter telomeres have been found in many agerelated diseases such as, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases, while its role in predicting longevity and lifespan is still contradictory (von Zglinicki and Martin-Ruiz, 2005; Mather et al., 2011). Interestingly, although mice have very long telomeres compared with humans (Gomes et al., 2011; Wright and Shay, 2000), they have a much shorter maximal lifespan (5 years in mice) (Brown-Borg and Bartke, 2012) compared to us (the oldest confirmed recorded age for any human is 122 years). "
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    ABSTRACT: The elderly population is increasing progressively. Along with this increase the number of age related diseases, such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic impairment and cancer, is also on the rise thereby negatively impacting the burden on health care systems. Telomere shortening and dysfunction results in cellular senescence, an irreversible proliferative arrest that has been suggested to promote organismal aging and disabling age-related diseases. Given that telomerase, the enzyme responsible for maintaining telomere lengths, is not expressed at levels sufficient to prevent telomere shortening in most of our cells, telomeres progressively erode with advancing age. Telomerase activation, therefore, might serve as a viable therapeutic strategy to delay the onset of cellular senescence, tissue dysfunction and organismal decline. Here we analyze the more recent findings in telomerase activation as a potential key modulator for human healthspan and longevity.
    Ageing research reviews 05/2014; 15(1). DOI:10.1016/j.arr.2013.12.006 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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