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Table of Contents
Vol. 56, No. 4, 2010
Issue release date: June 2010
Section title: Experimental Section / Review
Editor's Choice -- Free Access
Gerontology 2010;56:390–403

Telomeres and Immunological Diseases of Aging

Andrews N.P. · Fujii H. · Goronzy J.J. · Weyand C.M.
Lowance Center for Human Immunology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., USA
email Corresponding Author

Cornelia M. Weyand, MD, PhD

Lowance Center for Human Immunology, Emory University

101 Woodruff Circle

Atlanta, GA 30322 (USA)

Tel. +1 404 727 7310, Fax +1 404 727 7371, E-Mail cweyand@emory.edu

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A defining feature of the eukaryotic genome is the presence of linear chromosomes. This arrangement, however, poses several challenges with regard to chromosomal replication and maintenance. To prevent the loss of coding sequences and to suppress gross chromosomal rearrangements, linear chromosomes are capped by repetitive nucleoprotein structures, called telomeres. Each cell division results in a progressive shortening of telomeres that, below a certain threshold, promotes genome instability, senescence, and apoptosis. Telomeric erosion, maintenance, and repair take center stage in determining cell fate. Cells of the immune system are under enormous proliferative demand, stressing telomeric intactness. Lymphocytes are capable of upregulating telomerase, an enzyme that can elongate telomeric sequences and, thus, prolong cellular lifespan. Therefore, telomere dynamics are critical in preserving immune function and have become a focus for studies of immunosenescence and autoimmunity. In this review, we describe the role of telomeric nucleoproteins in shaping telomere architecture and in suppressing DNA damage responses. We summarize new insights into the regulation of telomerase activity, hereditary disorders associated with telomere dysfunction, the role of telomere loss in immune aging, and the impact of telomere dysfunction in chronic inflammatory disease.

© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Experimental Section / Review

Received: May 29, 2009
Accepted: September 07, 2009
Published online: December 17, 2009
Issue release date: June 2010

Number of Print Pages: 14
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

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