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Keywords:

  • stem cells;
  • leukocyte subsets;
  • telomerase;
  • telomeres

Summary

Blood leukocytes are a heterogeneous mixture of cell types whose telomere lengths differ greatly, reflecting variation in stem cell turnover and recruitment, expansion and replacement of more mature cell types as well as variable telomere loss and telomere repair. These differences in cell and telomere length dynamics, together with the evidence that telomere length is influenced strongly by genetic polymorphisms, greatly complicate the interpretation of claims that socio-economic status modulates the rate of telomere attrition.