Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 22 December 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 51, p. pe43
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2004.51.pe43]


Telomeres and Human Aging: Facts and Fibs

Abraham Aviv

The author is at the Hypertension Research Center, The Cardiovascular Research Institute, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA. E-mail: avivab{at}

Key Words: telomere • white blood cell • biomarker • replicative senescence

Abstract: Can telomere dynamics, defined by telomere length and attrition rate, provide information about the biology of human aging above and beyond that provided by chronological age? Accruing data suggest that it can. White blood cells (WBCs) have been used as the primary model in attempts to decipher links between aging, aging-related disorders, and telomere dynamics in humans. The WBC model may be appropriate in clinical settings, provided that we fully appreciate its drawbacks and limitations. On the basis of WBC telomere data, it is evident that age-adjusted telomere length is highly variable, highly heritable, longer in women than men, and shorter in people who harbor a host of age-related disorders, whose common denominators may prove to be increased oxidative stress and inflammation. It appears that shorter age-adjusted WBC telomere length augurs a greater risk of morbidity and premature mortality in the elderly. However, it is unsettled whether human telomere dynamics is only a proxy for fundamental mechanisms that govern the course of aging or a key determinant in its progression.

Citation: A. Aviv, Telomeres and Human Aging: Facts and Fibs. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (51), pe43 (2004).

Read the Full Text

Associations of Accelerometer-Measured and Self-Reported Sedentary Time With Leukocyte Telomere Length in Older Women.
A. H. Shadyab, C. A. Macera, R. A. Shaffer, S. Jain, L. C. Gallo, M. J. LaMonte, A. P. Reiner, C. Kooperberg, C. L. Carty, C. Di, et al. (2017)
Am. J. Epidemiol. 185, 172-184
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Nutrigenomics at the Interface of Aging, Lifespan, and Cancer Prevention.
G. Riscuta (2016)
J. Nutr. 146, 1931-1939
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Processed Meat, but Not Unprocessed Red Meat, Is Inversely Associated with Leukocyte Telomere Length in the Strong Heart Family Study.
A. M. Fretts, B. V. Howard, D. S. Siscovick, L. G. Best, S. A. Beresford, M. Mete, S. Eilat-Adar, N. Sotoodehnia, and J. Zhao (2016)
J. Nutr. 146, 2013-2018
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Influence of Alcohol Consumption, Cigarette Smoking, and Physical Activity on Leukocyte Telomere Length.
L. Latifovic, S. D. Peacock, T. E. Massey, and W. D. King (2016)
Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 25, 374-380
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study.
M. Crous-Bou, T. T. Fung, J. Prescott, B. Julin, M. Du, Q. Sun, K. M. Rexrode, F. B. Hu, and I. De Vivo (2014)
BMJ 349, g6674
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Ageing and the border between health and disease.
W. MacNee, R. A. Rabinovich, and G. Choudhury (2014)
Eur. Respir. J. 44, 1332-1352
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
No association between body size at birth and leucocyte telomere length in adult life--evidence from three cohort studies.
E. Kajantie, K. H. Pietilainen, K. Wehkalampi, L. Kananen, K. Raikkonen, A. Rissanen, P. Hovi, J. Kaprio, S. Andersson, J. G. Eriksson, et al. (2012)
Int. J. Epidemiol. 41, 1400-1408
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Women.
M. Du, J. Prescott, P. Kraft, J. Han, E. Giovannucci, S. E. Hankinson, and I. De Vivo (2012)
Am. J. Epidemiol. 175, 414-422
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Differential effects of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids on telomere length.
J. X. Kang (2010)
Am J Clin Nutr 92, 1276-1277
   Full Text »    PDF »
Associations between diet, lifestyle factors, and telomere length in women.
A. Cassidy, I. De Vivo, Y. Liu, J. Han, J. Prescott, D. J. Hunter, and E. B. Rimm (2010)
Am J Clin Nutr 91, 1273-1280
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Accelerated lung aging: a novel pathogenic mechanism of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
W. MacNee (2009)
Biochm. Soc. Trans. 37, 819-823
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Telomere Dynamics in Macaques and Humans.
J. P. Gardner, M. Kimura, W. Chai, J. F. Durrani, L. Tchakmakjian, X. Cao, X. Lu, G. Li, A. P. Peppas, J. Skurnick, et al. (2007)
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 62, 367-374
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Human telomere biology: pitfalls of moving from the laboratory to epidemiology.
A. Aviv, A. M. Valdes, and T. D. Spector (2006)
Int. J. Epidemiol. 35, 1424-1429
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150