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Biomark Med. 2014;8(4):485-98. doi: 10.2217/bmm.14.13.

Telomere length analysis and preterm infant health: the importance of assay design in the search for novel biomarkers.

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  • 1University of Kent, School of Biosciences, Giles Lane, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ, UK.


Preterm infants develop an 'aged' phenotype in comparison with term-born infants, one component of which is adverse metabolic health and, therefore, long-term health follow-up is warranted to identify morbidity. In light of this, the identification and use of biomarkers to aid with prognosis would be a welcome development. Telomeres are repeat sequences at the ends of each chromosome arm known to shorten as a consequence of cellular aging, and in relation to several disease conditions. The hypothesis that expreterm infants manifest alterations in telomere attrition rate is, therefore, one of interest. Analysis of telomere length maybe a plausible technique to predict prognosis in relation to preterm birth, and early life environmental and nutritional exposures. In this article, we review the literature on telomere length analysis in the preterm infant population and examine the tools available to measure telomere length.

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