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Anecdotal Evidence and Links

If you still aren’t convinced, or if you are just want to hear more, consider this assorted list of interesting anecdotal tidbits relating to the telomere theory, courtesy of Telomolecular, found here.

Age Correspondence

Geneticist Richard Cawthon and colleagues at the University of Utah found shorter telomeres are associated with shorter lives. Among people older than 60, those with shorter telomeres were three times more likely to die from heart disease and eight times more likely to die from infectious disease.

Reproductive Cells

Human stem cells and reproductive cells replicate in a healthy stable manner throughout the human lifespan. They energetically replicate exact copies and do not experience the same type of cellular damage understood as aging. The difference between these "immortal" cells and the rest of our body is that the "immortal" cells produce telomerase.

Aging Mice

Mice lacking a gene for making telomeres were found to go gray, lose hair faster, and recover less easily from the stress of surgery and chemotherapy than normal animals. They also developed tumors and cancer more often and died earlier, a team of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) researchers report in the March 5 Cell. more info

Immune Cells

Immune cells that fight HIV are under constant strain to divide in order to continue performing their protective functions. This massive amount of division shortens these cells' telomeres prematurely,' explained Dr. Rita Effros, Plott Chair in Gerontology and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "So the telomeres of a 40-year-old person infected with HIV resemble those of a healthy 90-year-old person."

Faconi’s Anemia

The telomeres of affected patients present an accelerated shortening owing to breakages in the telomeric DNA sequence, leading to chromosomes being unprotected and joining together. This mechanism may explain patients’ tendency to contract cancer. The research thus provides a first experimental link between a predisposition to cancer with the mechanism of sudden shortening of telomeres. more info

Human Arteries Engineered

hTERT introduced into human SMCs resulted in cells that proliferated far beyond their normal lifespan but retained characteristics of normal control SMCs (no cancer). Importantly, using these non-neonatal SMCs, Dr. J. McKee and colleagues were able to engineer mechanically robust human vessels, a crucial step towards creating arteries of clinical value for bypass surgery. more info

Mice Grow Hair

Scientists at Stanford modified hematopoietic stem cells to produce TERT. When injecting the cells into the skin of nuded mice the mice grew hair. The scientists showed that conditional activation of TERT causes hematopoietic stem cells (from bone marrow) to proliferate, and induces stem cell like characteristics in somatic cells, leading to a new anagen cycle. By promoting the developmental switch to anagen, TERT led to robust hair synthesis. more info

Repaired Skin

In a study, Geron introduced telomerase to aging fibroblasts which dramatically increased their division capacity and restored their ability to reconstitute normal human skin structures in the model system. A genomics microarray analysis also showed that telomerase restored a normal pattern of expressed genes to old fibroblasts. Telomerase, therefore, not only confers replicative immortality to skin fibroblasts, but also prevents or reverses the loss of biological function associated with aging cells. more info

Cardiovascular Disease

Telomere shortening in endothelial and progenitor cells plays a crucial role in the development of vascular disease.

Fast Cell Repair

Cells with longer telomeres fix damaged DNA much more rapidly. Cells in logarithmic growth without ectopic hTERT expression exhibited a slow rate of DNA repair along with higher residual DNA damage whereas cells with ectopic hTERT expression had a fast rate of DNA repair and less residual DNA damage.

In addition, here is a list of links for further information, also care of Telomolecular:

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