Apr 1, 1997

Telomeres and telomerase in normal and malignant haematopoietic cells

European Journal of Cancer : Official Journal for European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) [and] European Association for Cancer Research (EACR)
K F Norrback, G Roos


The normal haematopoietic system harbours telomerase-competent cells with a capacity to upregulate the activity to notable levels in a telomere length-independent manner. Strong telomerase activity is found in progenitor stem cells and activated lymphocytes in vitro as well as in vivo, indicating that cells with high growth requirements can readily upregulate telomerase. Despite detection of telomerase activity, a gradual telomere erosion occurs in stem cells and lymphocytes, with significantly shortened telomeres at higher ages, a phenomenon that might be of importance for developing immunosenescence and exhausted haematopoiesis. In malignant haematopoietic disorders telomerase activity is a general finding with large differences in activity levels. The strongest telomerase expression has been shown in acute leukaemias and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, especially high grade cases. There are indications that the level of activity might parallel tumour progression and be of prognostic relevance, but studies of larger patient materials are needed. An association between the cell cycle and telomerase activity exists, especially for normal haematopoietic cells, and induction of a differentiation programme in immortalised cell lines down...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Colony-Forming Units, Hematopoietic
Acute Leukemia
Lymphocytes as Percentage of Blood Leukocytes (Lab Test)
Telomere Shortening
Telomerase Catalytic Subunit
Tumor Lysis Syndrome
Acute Disease
Erosion Lesion
Cell Differentiation Process
Telomerase Activity

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