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[Replicative senescence as a model of aging: the role of oxidative stress and telomere shortening--an overview]

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gabriele Saretzki, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki


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Replicative senescence is characterized by the irreversible loss of division potential of cultivated human and animal cells. Correlations between the replicative potential in vitro and the age of the donor or the maximal lifespan of the species suggest replicative senescence to be an appropriate model for aging. Telomeres of human somatic cells shorten with each cell division but are stabilized at constant length in tumors and immortal cells by the enzyme telomerase. The assumption of a causal role of telomere shortening for the limited lifespan of cells in vitro was borne out recently. We could demonstrate oxidative stress as a main reason for telomere shortening. Telomeres are sensors for oxidative damage in the genome. Telomeres shorten during in vivo aging as well; however, there are significant differences between individuals. Telomere erosion might play a major role for the aging of the immune system. Our data suggest that telomere shortening in vivo could reflect the cumulative amount of oxidative damage to the organism. It might be useful as a biomarker of aging. [References: 84]

Publication metadata

Author(s): Saretzki G, von Zglinicki T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Zeitschrift fur Gerontologie und Geriatrie

Year: 1999

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 69-75


DOI: 10.1007/s003910050086

Notes: Review


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