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Telomere length and human hippocampal neurogenesis

adult neurogenesis genetics senescence

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#1 Engadin

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 06:33 PM







P A Y W A L L E D   S O U R C E :   Nature







This is an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. Nature Research are providing this early version of the manuscript as a service to our authors and readers. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting and a proof review before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers apply.






Short telomere length is a risk factor for age-related disease, but it is also associated with reduced hippocampal volumes, age-related cognitive decline and psychiatric disorder risk. The current study explored whether telomere shortening might have an influence on cognitive function and psychiatric disorder pathophysiology, via its hypothesised effects on adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
We modelled telomere shortening in human hippocampal progenitor cells in vitro using a serial passaging protocol that mimics the end-replication problem. Serially passaged progenitors demonstrated shorter telomeres (P ≤ 0.05), and reduced rates of cell proliferation (P ≤ 0.001), with no changes in the ability of cells to differentiate into neurons or glia. RNA-sequencing and gene-set enrichment analyses revealed an effect of cell ageing on gene networks related to neurogenesis, telomere maintenance, cell senescence and cytokine production. Downregulated transcripts in our model showed a significant overlap with genes regulating cognitive function (P ≤ 1 × 10−5), and risk for schizophrenia (P ≤ 1 × 10−10) and bipolar disorder (P ≤ 0.005).
Collectively, our results suggest that telomere shortening could represent a mechanism that moderates the proliferative capacity of human hippocampal progenitors, which may subsequently impact on human cognitive function and psychiatric disorder pathophysiology.

#2 QuestforLife

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 12:51 PM

A very interesting study.


The recent metastudy below posits a correlation between schizophrenia and leukocyte telomere length, although as with all association studies the direction of causality is unclear and in their case they imply the causality is the other way around (i.e. Schizophrenia to LTL) to that made above. The correlation is quite strong, however.



Our results suggest that a diagnosis of schizophrenia, more than gender, age, cigarette smoking or alcohol drinking, is the most important condition responsible of the LTL shortening


Given that schizophrenia normally kicks in during the patient's mid to late twenties, long before we'd expect general health difficulties due to short telomeres, and as to my knowledge schizophrenia isn't associated with (early onset) telomere diseases, we have to conclude that other factors that contribute to specific telomere shortening in the hippocampus (for example, localised inflammation) must play a role in schizophrenia. Nevertheless, telomere lengthening may be an efficacious point of intervention for this disease.  

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: adult neurogenesis, genetics, senescence

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