Ageing and the mismatch repair system

Mech Ageing Dev. 2000 Dec 20;121(1-3):173-9. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(00)00208-6.


Age-related accumulation of mutations has been extensively documented, and it has been proposed as one of the prominent causes of malignancies in old age. The present review is focused on the particular case of DNA mismatch repair system (MMR), that has drawn increased attention for its possible relevance to malignancy. We also report on our own observations on an age-associated genomic instability that develops with age in the MMR system. Our study was performed on DNA samples that were prepared from peripheral blood cells, obtained at a 10-year interval from young and old human subjects. The two DNA samples from each individual were examined comparatively. The older individuals showed a significantly higher rate of microsatellite instability (MSI) in several loci examined, whereas no difference was found between the paired samples of any of the young subjects. We suggest that this increase in MSI with age may indicate an overall genomic instability in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Base Pair Mismatch*
  • Biomarkers
  • DNA Repair*
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Phenotype


  • Biomarkers