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Telomerase As a Therapeutic Target in Cardiovascular Disease

Lookup NU author(s): Jedrzej Hoffmann, Dr Gavin RichardsonORCiD, Professor Ioakim SpyridopoulosORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a review published in its final definitive form in 2021. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


Telomeres are double-stranded repeats of G-rich tandem DNA sequences that gradually shorten with each cell division. Aging, inflammation, and oxidative stress accelerate the process of telomere shortening. Telomerase counteracts this process by maintaining and elongating the telomere length. Patients with atherosclerotic diseases and cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension) have shorter leukocyte telomere length. Following myocardial infarction, telomerase expression and activity in cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells increase significantly, implying that telomerase plays a role in regulating tissue repairs in heart diseases. Although previous studies have focused on the changes of telomeres in heart diseases and the telomere length as a marker for aging cardiovascular systems, recent studies have explored the potential of telomeres and telomerase in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. This review discusses the significant advancements of telomere therapeutics in gene therapy, atherosclerosis, anti-inflammation, and immune modulation in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hoffmann J, Richardson GD, Haendeler J, Altschmied J, Andrés V, Spyridopoulos I

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology

Year: 2021

Volume: 41

Issue: 3

Pages: 855-865

Print publication date: 01/03/2021

Online publication date: 28/01/2021

Acceptance date: 22/12/2020

ISSN (print): 1079-5642

ISSN (electronic): 1524-4636


DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.120.315695

PubMed id: 31998853