Telomeres, sex, reactive oxygen species, and human cardiovascular aging

J Mol Med (Berl). 2002 Nov;80(11):689-95. doi: 10.1007/s00109-002-0377-8. Epub 2002 Sep 13.


By undergoing erosion with each replicative cycle, telomeres chronicle the replicative history of human somatic cells in vitro and in vivo. In human beings the telomere is relatively short, inversely correlated with age, highly heritable, and longer in women than men. However, it is not established whether the dynamics of telomere attrition in vivo has a role in the biology of human aging. Telomere attrition may be modified by reactive oxygen species, the biology of which is governed by processes that are influenced by sex. Indices of cardiovascular aging in humans are correlated with telomere length and this relationship is characterized by sexual dimorphism. In the final analysis, the biology of reactive oxygen species may offer a common explanation for some interindividual variation in cardiovascular aging and age-dependent telomere attrition in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • DNA Damage
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Sex*
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Telomere / physiology*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species