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Genes 2016, 7(9), 58; doi:10.3390/genes7090058

Telomeres and Telomerase in Cardiovascular Diseases

1
Department of Cardiology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, 33305 Taoyuan, Taiwan
2
Chang Gung University College of Medicine, 33302 Taoyuan, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gabriele Saretzki
Received: 15 May 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 29 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [581 KB, uploaded 1 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Telomeres are tandem repeat DNA sequences present at the ends of each eukaryotic chromosome to stabilize the genome structure integrity. Telomere lengths progressively shorten with each cell division. Inflammation and oxidative stress, which are implicated as major mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases, increase the rate of telomere shortening and lead to cellular senescence. In clinical studies, cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension have been associated with short leukocyte telomere length. In addition, low telomerase activity and short leukocyte telomere length have been observed in atherosclerotic plaque and associated with plaque instability, thus stroke or acute myocardial infarction. The aging myocardium with telomere shortening and accumulation of senescent cells limits the tissue regenerative capacity, contributing to systolic or diastolic heart failure. In addition, patients with ion-channel defects might have genetic imbalance caused by oxidative stress-related accelerated telomere shortening, which may subsequently cause sudden cardiac death. Telomere length can serve as a marker for the biological status of previous cell divisions and DNA damage with inflammation and oxidative stress. It can be integrated into current risk prediction and stratification models for cardiovascular diseases and can be used in precise personalized treatments. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of telomeres and telomerase in the aging process and their association with cardiovascular diseases. In addition, we discuss therapeutic interventions targeting the telomere system in cardiovascular disease treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: telomere and telomerase; cell senescence; cardiovascular diseases telomere and telomerase; cell senescence; cardiovascular diseases
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Yeh, J.-K.; Wang, C.-Y. Telomeres and Telomerase in Cardiovascular Diseases. Genes 2016, 7, 58.

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