Prospective study of telomere length and the risk of skin cancer
Han J, Quresh AA, Prescott J et al.
J Invest Dermatol, 2009, 129, 415-421
Skin ageing has long been associated with exposure to UV rays, pollution and smoking. The damage caused is thought to be mediated through the production of free radicals in the skin and long-term consequences of oxidative stress, causing cumulative damage to collagen and elastin, and changes in the skin's outward appearance. However, there must also be other contributing factors to skin damage, as protected skin will also eventually show signs of ageing. Recent discoveries in this latter area are beginning to unravel how this 'internal' ageing may occur and these mechanisms may involve sirtuins, fibroblast senescence and telomere length.
Telomeres are long hexameric repeats at the ends of chromosomes. Murine studies and studies in yeast have demonstrated that telomeres play a critical role in maintaining structural integrity of chromosomes following replication in mitosis by preventing fusion of chromosomal ends, nucleolytic decay, end-to-end fusion and atypical recombination. However, at each cell division, DNA polymerases fail to complete a full replication of the telomeres, resulting in cumulative erosion of these...