Telomeres stabilize open chromosome ends and protect them against chromosomal end-to-end fusions, breakage, instability, and nonreciprocal translocations. Telomere dysfunction is known to lead to an impaired regenerative capacity of hepatocytes and an increased cirrhosis formation in the context of acute and chronic liver injury. In addition, telomere dysfunction and telomerase mutations have been associated with the induction of chromosomal instability and consequently with cirrhosis development and hepatocarcinogenesis. The identification of molecular mechanisms related to telomere dysfunction and telomerase activation might lead to new therapeutic strategies. In this chapter, we are reviewing the current knowledge about the importance of telomere dysfunction in liver diseases.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver cirrhosis; Liver disease; Telomerase; Telomeres.
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