Exploiting the telomere machinery to put the brakes on inflamm-aging

Massimiliano Bonafè, Jacopo Sabbatinelli, Fabiola Olivieri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Telomere shortening accompanies mammalian aging in vivo, and the burden of senescent cells with short telomeres and a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) increases with aging. The release into the cytoplasm and the extracellular vesicle-mediated intercellular exchange of telomeric TTAGGG repeats could exert an anti-inflammatory activity by preventing the activation of the misplaced nucleic acid-sensing pathway. Many pharmacological and genetic strategies have been developed to prevent telomere shortening or to achieve telomere elongation. Recently, it was demonstrated that telomere elongation can be obtained – without genetic manipulation – by culturing mice embryonic stem cells into appropriate media. Based on this observation, we hypothesize that environmental factors could affect the initial length of telomeres by modulating the activity of telomerase during the early stages of pregnancy. Therefore, organisms with longer telomeres could exploit the anti-inflammatory activity of telomeric sequences over an extended time span, eventually delaying the development and progression of age-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101027
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Age-related diseases
  • Cytosolic DNA
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere length
  • Telomeres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Ageing
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology


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