Telomerase protect post-mitotic cells too

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Thu Jun 15 09:55:29 EST 2000

Lou Pagnucco wrote:

> the Milan group (I cannot remember the authors) that published
> in Nature some months ago, seemed to show that mice genetically
> modified to exhibit lower rates of apoptosis lived about 35% longer.

Miglaccio et al, Nature 402(6759):309-313.  True, but it is crucial
to remember that the reduction of apoptosis was not indiscriminate:
it was specifically a reduction in oxidative stress-induced apoptosis
due to knockout of one isoform of a protein.  However, I still agree
strongly with you that more experiments are needed.

> Could failed, transient, apoptotic episodes result in extensive
> cell/tissue damage instead of cell death? ...  Is it also possible
> that these failed cellular suicide attempts are due to mitochodrial
> oxidative bursts that manage to leave behind the biomarkers of cellular
> ageing?  i.e., Is it possible that normal mitochondrial respiration has
> gotten a "bum rap" and unfairly indicted for the cellular "damage" seen
> in senescent cells?  (whereas these intentional but abortive suicide
> attempts are actually responsible?)

I don't think this is very likely.  We must ask what initiated the
failed apoptosis in the first place: something must have been pretty
wrong with the cell or it would not have begun the program.

Aubrey de Grey

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