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J Immunol. 2000 Oct 15;165(8):4742-7.

Telomerase activity is increased and telomere length shortened in T cells from blood of patients with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

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Department of Dermatology, Marselisborg Hospital, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.


We studied telomerase activity and telomere length in PBMC and purified CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from blood obtained from a total of 32 patients with atopic dermatitis, 16 patients with psoriasis, and 30 normal controls. The telomerase activity was significantly increased in PBMC from the patients compared with PBMC from normal donors. This increase was most pronounced in the subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells, which were significantly above the activity of the CD8(+) T cells in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis patients, and control persons. The telomere length was significantly reduced in all T cell subsets from both atopic dermatitis and psoriasis patients compared with normal individuals. Furthermore, the telomere length was found to be significantly shorter in CD4(+) memory T cells compared with the CD4(+) naive T cells, and both of the cell subsets from diseases were shown to be of significantly shorter telomere length than the same cell subsets from normal controls. No significant difference was observed between CD8(+)CD28(-) and CD8(+)CD28(+) T cell populations in both diseases. However, the telomere length of CD8(+)CD28(+) T cells from both diseases was significantly shorter than CD8(+)CD28(+) T cell subsets from normal donors. In conclusion, the increased telomerase activity and shortened telomere length indicates that T lymphocytes in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are chronically stimulated and have an increased cellular turnover in vivo.

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