Telomeres and telomerase in aging, regeneration and cancer

Meta Wulandari Djojosubroto, Yoon Sik Choi, Han Woong Lee, Karl Lenhard Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


The finding that telomere shortening limits the replicative lifespan of primary human cells has fueled speculations that telomere shortening plays a role during aging and regeneration of tissues in vivo. Support for this hypothesis comes from studies showing telomere shortening in a variety of human tissues as a consequence of aging and chronic disease. Studies in telomerase-dcficient mice have given first experimental support that telomere shortening limits the replicative potential of organs and tissues in vivo and have identified telomerase as a promising target to treat regenerative disorders induced by telomere shortening. A potential downside of such an approach could be the development of malignant tumors, which has been linked to reactivation of telomerase in human cancers. In telomerase-deficient mice, telomere shortening showed a dual role in tumorigenesis, enhancing the initiation of tumors by induction of chromosomal instability but inhibiting tumor progression by induction of DNA-damage responses. The success in using telomerase activation for the treatment of regenerative disorders could depend on which of the mechanisms of telomere shortening is dominantly effecting carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-175
Number of pages12
JournalMolecules and cells
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Telomeres and telomerase in aging, regeneration and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this