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Marie-Catherine Drigeard Desgarnier, Corinne Zinflou, Justin D. Mallet, Sébastien P. Gendron, Sébastien J. Méthot, Patrick J. Rochette; Telomere Length Measurement in Different Ocular Structures: A Potential Implication in Corneal Endothelium Pathogenesis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(13):5547-5555. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19878.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Human chromosomes are protected at their end by a long portion of hexameric tandem repeats, the telomere. In somatic cells, telomere attrition caused by endogenous and exogenous oxidative stress as well as DNA replication can threaten genomic integrity and lead to the deterioration of tissue functions and an age-related physiological decline. The human eye is a complex organ in which cells of different ocular tissues are exposed to photo-oxidation, high mitochondrial metabolic activity, and/or replicative pressure.
We employed a highly sensitive quantitative PCR technique to determine relative telomere length in different human ocular structures.
The longest telomeres in all ocular structures analyzed are found in neural retina, and the shortest are in the cornea. Within the retina, retinal pigment epithelium has four times shorter telomeres when compared to neural retina. However, no age-dependent telomere attrition in the retina and no difference between telomere lengths in the macular region and the rest of the retina have been found. In the cornea, stroma has the longer telomeres. In the corneal endothelium, we found a clear age-dependent telomere shortening. Since the endothelium is one of the most metabolically active ocular structure, this result suggests that endogenous oxidative stress from high mitochondrial activity is a major determinant of telomere loss in this structure.
Taken together, our results imply that the aging process and telomere attrition in the different ocular structures are the result of multiple factors and could not be attributed to solely exogenous or endogenous oxidation or DNA replication.
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