Home Life Style Telomeres And Ageing – Study Reveals How We Age

Telomeres And Ageing – Study Reveals How We Age

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Telomeres And Ageing – Study Reveals How We Age

Aging is a natural process,áwhich researchers are increasingly struggling to understandáat molecular level, hoping that one day,áthey willámange to reverse it. It may sound daring butásmallásteps forwardáare made everyáday by scientists throughout the world. It is the case of a new study available in the Nature Communications journal, thatálinks damage to telomeres (chains of DNA thatáare present at the ends ofáthe chromosomes ofáall body cells) to the ageing process.

All our body cells divideáin order toáreplaceádead, malfunctioning or agedácells. When cells divide, they forward a copy of their DNA to the daughter cells. Since the DNA molecule is very large, it needs to be condensedáto fitáinside the cell nucleus, giving birth to chromosomes. Each chromosome presents atáits endáa telomereáwhich shortens with each cell division. Previous studies have shown thatáwhenátelomeres are too short,áthey reach a critical minimum length that makes cells unable to divide.

Chromosomes

Chromosomes

The study, conducted at The Newcastle Universityánow suggests that critical minimum telomere length is not the only factor that determines cells to halt theirádivision process. According to study leader,áDr. JoŃo Passos telomere shortening is indeedáone factor that increases the risk of certain diseases andácellular death but the stress inducedáDNA damage of telomers could also play a key role in the ageing process. It was also found that even long telomersábutáwith damagedáDNA makes bodyácells unable to divide.

With age, all cells suffer different mutations of the DNAá(molecule thatástoresáthe encodedágenetic information needed for protein synthesis and replication). These mutations thatáareálargely caused by the action of free radicalsácan be fixed by different cell DNAárepairámechanisms. The sudy reveales thatásensitive to stress telomeres are not so efficiently repaired.áDuring the division processáthey are transmitted to the next generation of cells which gradually reduce their ability to regenerate – ageing.

These findings represent a huge step forward in understanding how exactly telomers influence the ageing process. It seems thatáis not just the telomore length that matters when when it comes to ageing, but also how they respond to damage. Future studies aimáto elucidate what exactly makes these chromosome ends so special, hoping to find drugs that can interfere with telomere damage and renew it.