Master of Science
Dr. Geoffrey Pickering
Leukocyte telomere length (TL) shortens with age and is associated with age-related pathologies. However, inherited and acquired variation in telomere length in individuals complicates clinical interpretations of TL as a biomarker of aging and age-related pathologies. Therefore, it is critical to identify a post-mitotic tissue as a surrogate marker of TL at birth. In my thesis project, I used quantitative PCR to trace TL dynamics of a variety of tissue types of inbred mice during 1st year of life. I found that TL of smooth muscle of aortic media did not shorten with age and represents birth TL. Notably, birth TL effectively offset genetic variation of TL in a genetically diverse mouse population. In addition, I further revealed that impaired collagen turnover in mice, which leads to premature aging symptoms, accelerates TL shortening. In summary, I identified that aortic media provides a powerful internal reference for birth TL with potentials to improve the accuracy of evaluating telomere shortening in individuals.
Comartin, Paul J., "Telomere length dynamics in aging mice" (2012). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 658.