T Jyothi Kiran*


Telomerase (the cellular enzyme primarily responsible for telomere length and maintenance) is a predictor of long term cellular viability. Telomerase activity is considered as a useful biomarker to understand the process of ageing. Evidence shows that chronic stress accelerates ageing by reducing telomerase activity resulting in the shortening of the length of telomeres. A correlation between telomerase activity and ageing has been established which proved that reducing psychological stress by intensive meditation training resulted in increased telomerase activity and telomere length which was correlated to increase in life span. In addition to telomere maintenance, telomerase has several non-telomeric functions that are still being explored. Recent studies have shown the neuroprotective effects of telomerase reverse transcriptase (the catalytic sub-unit of telomerase) in the brain tissue. Further research on the regulation of telomerase dynamics under stressful situations would offer the possibility of treating stress related and age related neurodegenerative diseases. This review focuses on the telomeric and non-telomeric functions of telomerase with special emphasis on linking stress with telomerase dynamics and telomerase in the brain tissue.

Keywords: stress, telomerase, TERT, depression, anxiety, brain tissue.

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