Telomere length maintenance, shortening, and lengthening

J Cell Physiol. 2014 Oct;229(10):1323-9. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24537.


Telomeres maintain chromosome stability and cell replicative capacity. Telomere shortening occurs concomitant with aging. Short telomeres are associated with some diseases, such as dyskeratosis congenita, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and aplastic anemia. Telomeres are longer in pluripotent stem cells than in somatic cells and lengthen significantly during preimplantation development. Furthermore, telomere elongation during somatic cell reprogramming is of great importance in the acquisition of authentic pluripotency. This review focuses primarily on regulatory mechanisms of telomere length maintenance in pluripotent cells, telomere length extension in early embryo development, and also telomere rejuvenation in somatic cell reprogramming. Telomere related diseases are also discussed in this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere Homeostasis*
  • Telomere Shortening*