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Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Feb 1;81(2):244-52. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvn337. Epub 2008 Dec 1.

Telomere biology in cardiovascular disease: the TERC-/- mouse as a model for heart failure and ageing.

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Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700RB Groningen, The Netherlands.


Atherosclerosis and heart failure are major causes of morbidity and mortality in Western countries. Recent studies are suggesting involvement of telomere biology in the development and progression of age-associated conditions, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and heart failure. Whether any of these reported associations are based on causal relationships remains to be elucidated. The construction of telomerase-deficient (telomerase RNA component, TERC(-/-)) mice might provide a potential instrumental model to study the involvement of telomere biology in cardiovascular disease. Here, we review the current available information from all studies performed in TERC(-/-) mice providing information on the cardiovascular phenotypic characteristics. Although this mouse model has proven its value in the understanding of the role of telomere biology in cancer, stem cell, and basic telomere research, only few studies were specifically designed to answer cardiovascular-related questions. The TERC(-/-) mice provide exciting opportunities to expand our knowledge of telomere biology in cardiovascular disease and the potential identification of novel targets of treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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