Telomere dynamics in macaques and humans

Jeffrey P. Gardner, Masayuki Kimura, Weihang Chai, Jameel F. Durrani, Levon Tchakmakjian, Xiaojian Cao, Xiaobin Lu, Guanghui Li, Athanasios P. Peppas, Joan Skurnick, Woodring E. Wright, Jerry W. Shay, Abraham Aviv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In humans, telomere length in proliferating tissues shortens with age - a process accelerated with age-related diseases. Thus, telomere length and attrition with age in the nonhuman primate may serve as a useful paradigm for understanding telomere biology in humans. We examined telomere parameters in tissues of young and old Macaca fascicularis and compared them with several tissues from humans. Macaque telomeres were variable in length and exhibited partial synchrony (equivalence) within animals. They were longer than humans, partially because of longer subtelomeric segments. As skeletal muscle telomere length was unchanged with age, we used it as an internal reference to offset interanimal variation in telomere length. We identified age-dependent telomere attrition in lung, pancreas, skin, and thyroid. Similar to humans, telomerase activity was detected in spleen, thymus, digestive tract, and gonads. We conclude that factors that modify telomere attrition and aging in humans may also operate in the macaque.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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