Premature aging is one of the most difficult-to-deal with conditions in the world. In addition to its physical consequences, its psychological impact is devastating on a person suffering from it. At this point, experts believe that the disease is caused by the fact that people predisposed to it have very short telomeres, which are repetitive stretches of DNA attached to the end of each chromosome in each cell featuring genetic material in the human body. As chromosomes multiply, the telomeres naturally get shorter, and scientists believe that this may be playing a role in aging.
Researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston found that reprogramming the skin cells, using induced pluripotent stem cell technology, lengthened the telomeres in the cells. The reprogramming process activated the telomerase enzyme, which is responsible for maintaining telomeres. The research was published today in the online version of the journal Nature (…)
Telomerase is most active in stem cells, allowing these cells to maintain their telomere length and divide indefinitely. The telomeres of differentiated cells, such as skin cells, shorten with every cell division, limiting their lifespan. (The discovery of the enzyme in the 1980s was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last year.)
read more: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/24604/