Telomeres, at the heart of the aging process
How and why does telomere shortening seem central to the aging process ? What is their role? How do they influence the aging process? And why do we call telomeres the “biological clocks” of our body?
Part 1: Causes and consequences of telomere shortening during aging
It is unclear how fast and why telomere shortening speed and aging vary from person to person. Indeed, the possible causes of telomere shortening can vary greatly.
Part 2: Accelerated aging due to telomere and telomerase malfunction
Telomere length and telomerase seem to be key factors of the aging process. Many studies on diseases resulting from mutations on telomerase components have shown that it leads to a lesser quality of cell renewal, which is a phenotype linked to aging.
Part 3: Telomeres and telomerase in stem cells: central to the aging process
Telomerase expression diminishes in the few weeks that follow birth in most adult tissues, with the exception of certain types of cells such as stem cells. One can wonder if there is a link between the fact that the quantity of stem cells is lowered with age, telomerase function, and telomere length.
Part 4: Towards an aging metrology with telomeres
To measure aging, several methods based on telomere length have been developed. Today, there are 5 main methods, among which TAT, and STELA. They allow to obtain precious indications on physiological age and aging, from telomere length.
Part 5: Telomeres and aging, what therapies?
Telomere length is becoming an interesting lead to elaborate therapies and solutions to fight aging. We can speak of Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, a biotech company in the US. She tested on herself two gene therapies developed by her own lab, one of which aims to lengthen her telomeres for “rejuvenation” purposes