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Mech Ageing Dev. 2003 Apr;124(4):427-32.

Stable telomere length and telomerase expression from naïve to memory B-lymphocyte differentiation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Telomere length and telomerase activity play important roles in regulating replicative lifespan of cells. The length of telomeres also serves as a marker for the replicative history and for the remaining replicative potential of cells. Differential telomere length has been reported in human naïve and memory T cells but not in naïve versus memory B-lymphocytes. We report here an analysis of telomere length and induced telomerase expression in naïve (CD27(-)) and memory (CD27(+)) B cells from normal adults. Although both naïve and memory B cells lose telomere repeats with age, there is no consistent difference in telomere length between these two B cell subsets. Furthermore, both naïve and memory B cells are capable of inducing telomerase activity at similar levels after in vitro stimulation independent of donor's age. Finally, there is a slow increase of memory B cells in peripheral blood with age. Together, these findings suggest that B cells are capable of maintaining telomere length during differentiation from naïve to memory B cells and this ability is maintained through age.

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