Telomere shortening - a marker of cellular senescence
Telomeres are complexes composed of proteins and nucleotides of TTAGGG repeats at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes [1-3], see figure. Due to the mechanism of replication, telomeres shorten with every cell division, ticking as a cellular “molecular clock” .
Stressful conditions forcing organs or tissues to waste proliferative potential may lead to earlier ageing onset and earlier shortening of telomere length . As well as unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, psychological stress, poor diet and physical inactivity [3-5], shorter telomere length has been associated with diseases including cardiovascular disease, dementia or autoimmune diseases (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis) [1,3,6]. In most cases, a link between telomere shortening and a constant high level of oxidative stress was observed .
Information about the role of telomere in MS remains limited…
- A study from Germany found shorter telomere length (TL) in patients with MS (n=138) compared with healthy controls (n=120) across all stages of the disease (0.74 vs. 0.94 TL, p < .001), but no association between telomere length and disability progression .
- An association between shorter telomere length and greater disability and brain atrophy independent of chronological age and MS disease duration was reported from a US cohort study (n=516) .
Figure: Telomeres are the protective end-complexes at the termini of the eukaryotic cell chromosomes
(Source picture: Bayer library, adapted)
- Bernadotte A et al. Aging (Albany NY) 2016; 8(1): 3-11. Return to content
- Blackburn EH et al. Science 2015; 350(6265): 1193-8. Return to content
- Krysko KM et al. Ann Neurol 2019; 86(5): 671-82. Return to content
- Lin J et al. Mutat Res 2012; 730(1-2): 85-89. Return to content
- Semeraro DM et al. Aging (Albany NY) 2020; 12(13): 13803-23. Return to content
- Georgin-Lavialle S et al. Autoimmun Rev 2010; 9(10): 646-51. Return to content
- Habib R et al. J Neuroimmunol 2020; 341: 577187. Return to content