Telomerase and Aging
Country: United States
Date: April 2006
I have been reading about telomeres and there
affect on cellular aging, I was wondering if there is any
corelation, between cellular and organism aging? If we can make
normal cells immortal with the help of telomerase, would we be able
to extend the human lifespan?
Insufficient telomere extension is probably not the only cause of aging.
Somatic mutation accumulation is another possible cause of aging along with
oxidation of critical enzymes and proteins caused by free radicals such as O
(atomic oxygen) produced during normal cellular metabolism.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
Changes in telomere structure are only correlated with aging and whether
telomeres are causative is uncertain. My bet is they only play a side role
and are not a possible "fountain of youth"...biological systems are far too
complex. There is a correlation between cellular and organismal aging but
this is difficult to assess...there is a strong correlation between total
caloric intake and life span for example and some think this is related to
oxidizing agents in food...seems a stretch to me. Evolution's entire system
is based on succession of generations, so to think there is a simple set of
variables that could interrupt this seems highly unlikely.
Maybe. But cancer cells also have telomerase-it is part of what makes them
immortal. Scientists need to know more about how telomerase works before
they test this on humans.
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Update: June 2012