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Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 8 June 2005
Vol. 2005, Issue 23, p. pe16
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2005.23.pe16]


The Longevity Gender Gap: Are Telomeres the Explanation?

Abraham Aviv, Jerry Shay, Karre Christensen, and Woodring Wright

The authors are at the Hypertension Research Center, the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, NJ Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA (A.A.); Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA (J.S. and W.W.); and the Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark (K.C.). E-mail: avivab{at}

Key Words: cardiovascular disease • estrogen • longevity gender gap • oxidative stress • somatic cell selection • telomere • X chromosome

Abstract: In this Perspective, we focus on the greater longevity of women as compared with men. We propose that, like aging itself, the longevity gender gap is exceedingly complex and argue that it may arise from sex-related hormonal differences and from somatic cell selection that favors cells more resistant to the ravages of time. We discuss the interplay of these factors with telomere biology and oxidative stress and suggest that an explanation for the longevity gender gap may arise from a better understanding of the differences in telomere dynamics between men and women.

Citation: A. Aviv, J. Shay, K. Christensen, W. Wright, The Longevity Gender Gap: Are Telomeres the Explanation? Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2005 (23), pe16 (2005).

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