Telomere length and telomerase activity in T cells are biomarkers of high-performing centenarians

Enzo Tedone, Ejun Huang, Ryan O’Hara, Kimberly Batten, Andrew T. Ludlow, Tsung Po Lai, Beatrice Arosio, Daniela Mari, Woodring E. Wright, Jerry W. Shay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is generally recognized that the function of the immune system declines with increased age and one of the major immune changes is impaired T-cell responses upon antigen presentation/stimulation. Some “high-performing” centenarians (100+ years old) are remarkably successful in escaping, or largely postponing, major age-related diseases. However, the majority of centenarians (“low-performing”) have experienced these pathologies and are forced to reside in long-term nursing facilities. Previous studies have pooled all centenarians examining heterogeneous populations of resting/unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). T cells represent around 60% of PBMC and are in a quiescence state when unstimulated. However, upon stimulation, T cells rapidly divide and exhibit dramatic changes in gene expression. We have compared stimulated T-cell responses and identified a set of transcripts expressed in vitro that are dramatically different in high- vs. low-performing centenarians. We have also identified several other measurements that are different between high- and low-performing centenarians: (a) The amount of proliferation following in vitro stimulation is dramatically greater in high-performing centenarians compared to 67- to 83-year-old controls and low-performing centenarians; (b) telomere length is greater in the high-performing centenarians; and (c) telomerase activity following stimulation is greater in the high-performing centenarians. In addition, we have validated a number of genes whose expression is directly related to telomere length and these are potential fundamental biomarkers of aging that may influence the risk and progression of multiple aging conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12859
JournalAging Cell
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Keywords

  • centenarians
  • healthy aging
  • longevity
  • stimulated T cells
  • telomerase activity
  • telomeres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology

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    Tedone, E., Huang, E., O’Hara, R., Batten, K., Ludlow, A. T., Lai, T. P., Arosio, B., Mari, D., Wright, W. E., & Shay, J. W. (2019). Telomere length and telomerase activity in T cells are biomarkers of high-performing centenarians. Aging Cell, 18(1), [e12859]. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12859