Telomere length and telomerase activity in the context of menopause

Climacteric. 2013 Dec;16(6):629-31. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2013.812603. Epub 2013 Jun 28.


Telomere length is a marker of cell aging, since shorter telomeres and a higher rate of telomere shortening with time are associated with poorer health status and survival. Various factors may determine telomere length and the function of the telomere maintenance system, including the hereditary load and several modifiable variables such as diet and lifestyle. Telomere length and telomerase activity were investigated extensively in a variety of diseases, such as malignancies (i.e. breast and colon cancer), cardiovascular disease and its related metabolic risk factors, cognitive, mental and psychiatric conditions, and many others. Some evidence points at an association between longer endogenous estrogen exposure (length of reproductive years of life) and greater telomere length and lower telomerase activity. However, there is probably no correlation in regard to menopause per se or the use of hormone therapy. Changing the nutrition and implementing healthy lifestyles may improve the telomere/telomerase parameters in postmenopausal women, but better understanding of this system is still needed.

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Senescence
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Menopause / metabolism
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere Homeostasis* / drug effects


  • Telomerase