Influence of Donor and Recipient Gender on Telomere Maintenance after Umbilical Cord Blood Cell Transplantation: A Study by the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto Di Midollo Osseo

Enrico Derenzini, Alessandra Risso, M. Ruella, Tiziana Spatola, Giuseppe Milone, Pietro Pioltelli, Anna Paola Iori, Stella Santarone, Alberto Bosi, Alessandro Rambaldi, Andrea P. Bacigalupo, William Arcese, Corrado Tarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Physiologic loss of telomerase activity in adult life determines progressive telomere length (TL) shortening. Inflammation and oxidative damage are established causes of TL loss; moreover, males have shorter telomeres compared with females. Despite these notions, mechanisms regulating TL maintenance are poorly defined. Because umbilical cord blood (UCB) cells harbor very long telomeres, not yet exposed to environmental damages, UCB transplantation (UCBT) provides a unique experimental setting to study determinants of TL in humans. TL dynamics were analyzed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) from 36 patients (median age, 42 years) undergoing UCBT. TL was studied at a median of 20 months after UCBT. A significantly longer TL (mean, 8698 bp; range, 6521 to 11,960) was documented in UCBT recipients compared with age-matched healthy control subjects (mean, 7396 bp; range, 4375 to 11,108; P < .01). Among variables potentially influencing TL maintenance, including recipient features, graft type, transplant procedure, and engraftment kinetics, only donor–recipient gender combination was associated with TL, with the longest TL in women receiving male UCB (mean, 10,063 bp; range, 8381 to 11,960). To further investigate this trend, telomerase activation was assessed in vitro. Experiments showed that telomerase subunits were preferentially upregulated in male-derived bone marrow MNCs exposed ex vivo to estradiol as compared with female MNCs. This implies an increased sensitivity of male-derived MNCs to telomerase activation induced by estradiol. The results suggest that extrinsic and modifiable factors such as hormonal status and female milieu could be major determinants of TL in humans, providing the rationale for investigating hormonal-based approaches to counteract telomere erosion and aging-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cord blood transplantation
  • Estradiol
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation

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