Telomere Shortening and Its Association with Cell Dysfunction in Lung Diseases

Author: Andy Ruiz1, Julio Flores-Gonzalez1, Ivette Buendia-Roldan1, Leslie Chavez-Galan1
1 Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas, Mexico City 14080, Mexico.
Conference/Journal: Int J Mol Sci
Date published: 2021 Dec 31
Other: Volume ID: 23 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 425 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/ijms23010425. , Word Count: 189

Telomeres are localized at the end of chromosomes to provide genome stability; however, the telomere length tends to be shortened with each cell division inducing a progressive telomere shortening (TS). In addition to age, other factors, such as exposure to pollutants, diet, stress, and disruptions in the shelterin protein complex or genes associated with telomerase induce TS. This phenomenon favors cellular senescence and genotoxic stress, which increases the risk of the development and progression of lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, SARS-CoV-2 infection, and lung cancer. In an infectious environment, immune cells that exhibit TS are associated with severe lymphopenia and death, whereas in a noninfectious context, naïve T cells that exhibit TS are related to cancer progression and enhanced inflammatory processes. In this review, we discuss how TS modifies the function of the immune system cells, making them inefficient in maintaining homeostasis in the lung. Finally, we discuss the advances in drug and gene therapy for lung diseases where TS could be used as a target for future treatments.

Keywords: immune system; lung diseases; telomere shortening; treatments.

PMID: 35008850 PMCID: PMC8745057 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23010425