Equine telomeres and telomerase in cellular immortalisation and ageing

D Argyle, V Ellsmore, E A Gault, A F Munro, L Nasir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To determine the role of telomeres in cellular ageing in equids, we analysed telomere lengths in peripheral blood derived DNA samples from a panel of donkeys (Equus asinus) ranging from 2 to 30 years of age. The average telomere lengths ranged from 7 to 21 kbp and a statistically significant inverse correlation between telomere lengths and donor age was demonstrated. Similarly, telomere lengths in primary fibroblasts isolated from a horse (Equus equus) demonstrated telomeric loss with in vitro ageing when cultured to senescence. We extended this study to evaluate activity of the enzyme telomerase in various equine cell cultures, normal equine tissues and equine benign tumour samples. Initially a panel of equine immortalised and primary cell cultures were evaluated for telomerase activity using a standard telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay. High levels of telomerase activity were detected in equine immortalised cells with no activity evident in primary cell cultures. Similarly, no telomerase activity could be detected in normal equine tissues or equine benign tumour samples of the sarcoid or papilloma type. We conclude that telomere attrition may contribute to ageing in equids. However, it would appear that telomerase does not play a major role in the development of the most common benign tumours of the horse. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-764
Number of pages6
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • equine
  • telomeres
  • telomerase
  • tumours
  • DNA


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