Telomerase protect post-mitotic cells too
pagnucco at oeonline.com
Tue Jun 13 22:20:20 EST 2000
The following interesting item is from
If correct, telomerase does not merely extend the proliferative potential
of mitotically active cells, but also lengthens the lifespan of postmitotic
cells like neurons by making them more resistant to programmed cell
death. Hopefully, this finding will be confirmed for nerve cells and other
postmitotic cells such as muscle cells.
Telomerase May Protect Nerve
Cells from Brain Disorders
6/12/2000 The telomerase plot thickens.
The enzyme, believed to determine
cellular lifespan and perhaps maintain
cancer cells, now may protect nerve cells
against decreased function and
premature death caused by Alzheimer's
and other age-related neurological
disorders. Thats the latest research from
Mark Mattson, chief of the Laboratory of
Neurosciences at the National Institute
on Aging (NIA).
In experiments designed to mimic
conditions in neurologically impaired
brains, Mattson and his colleagues at the
NIA and the University of Kentucky
Medical Center found that nerve cells
with low levels of telomerase were
particularly vulnerable to being killed by
amyloid peptide, a toxic protein that
accumulates in the brains of people with
Alzheimer's disease. In contrast, nerve
cells with high levels of telomerase
displayed a remarkable resistance to
being damaged or killed in experimental
models of Alzheimer's disease or stroke.
The researchers have found that
telomerase blocks a biochemical
cascade of reactions called apoptosis,
which causes nerve cells to self-destruct.
Accumulating evidence implicates the
process of apoptosis in the death of
nerve cells that occurs in Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's disease and stroke.
If scientists can develop methods to
stimulate the production of telomerase in
nerve cells, Mattson said, it might help
fend off age-related neurological
This research appeared in the June 2,
2000 issue of the Journal of Molecular
Neuroscience. Further details on will be
published in the July issue of the Journal
of Neurochemistry, which will be available
after June 15.
For more information: Mark Mattson,
Director, Laboratory of Neurosciences,
National Institute on Aging. Tel:
mattsonm at grc.nia.nih.gov.
Edited by Angelo DePalma
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