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Cancer Control. 2004 Mar-Apr;11(2):77-85.

Telomere biology of human hematopoietic stem cells.

Author information

1
Leukaemia Research Fund Stem Cell Laboratory, Department of Clinical Haematology and Oncology, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. ngaire.elwood@mcri.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Telomeres are protein DNA structures present at the ends of chromosomes and are essential for genetic stability and cell replication. Telomerase is the enzyme complex that maintains telomere integrity. Hematopoietic stem cells express telomerase and contain long telomeres, which become shorter as cells differentiate and mature. The extent of telomere shortening and the level of telomerase activity often correlate with the presence and severity of some hematopoietic diseases.

METHODS:

The fundamentals of telomeres and telomerase are reviewed, and the telomere biology of human hematopoietic cells is discussed.

RESULTS:

Telomere length and telomerase activity are important in the self-renewal of hematopoietic stem cells. Changes within these compartments affect both normal hematopoietic cells and the generation of hematopoietic disease. Telomere length provides information pertaining to the proliferative history and potential of a hematopoietic cell.

CONCLUSIONS:

The role of telomerase and telomeres within the hematopoietic compartment needs further clarification. Advances in our knowledge in this field may improve clinical outcomes for the treatment of hematologic disease.

PMID:
15024344
DOI:
10.1177/107327480401100214
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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