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Role of Telomerase in the Cardiovascular System

IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany
Central Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Duesseldorf, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally
Academic Editor: Gabriele Saretzki
Genes 2016, 7(6), 29;
Received: 3 May 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 14 June 2016 / Published: 17 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
PDF [544 KB, uploaded 20 June 2016]


Aging is one major risk factor for the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and the development of atherosclerosis. One important enzyme known to be involved in aging processes is Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT). After the discovery of the enzyme in humans, TERT had initially only been attributed to germ line cells, stem cells and cancer cells. However, over the last few years it has become clear that TERT is also active in cells of the cardiovascular system including cardiac myocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. Interference with the activity of this enzyme greatly contributes to cardiovascular diseases. This review will summarize the findings on the role of TERT in cardiovascular cells. Moreover, recent findings concerning TERT in different mouse models with respect to cardiovascular diseases will be described. Finally, the extranuclear functions of TERT will be covered within this review. View Full-Text
Keywords: Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase; cardiovascular cells; aging Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase; cardiovascular cells; aging

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Zurek, M.; Altschmied, J.; Kohlgrüber, S.; Ale-Agha, N.; Haendeler, J. Role of Telomerase in the Cardiovascular System. Genes 2016, 7, 29.

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