Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are of primary importance as they cause damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA either endogenously by cellular mechanism, or through exogenous exposure to environmental injury factors, including oxidation insult factors, such as tobacco smoke. Currently 46.3 million adults (25.7 percent of the population) are smokers. This includes 24 million men (28.1 percent of the total) and more than 22 million women (23.5 percent). The prevalence is highest among persons 25–44 years of age. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing several chronic disorders. These include fatty buildups in arteries, several types of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung problems). As peripheral leukocytes have been the main target of human telomere research, most of what is known about human telomere dynamics in vivo is based on these cells. Leukocyte telomere length (TL) is a complex trait that is shaped by genetic, epigenetic, and environmental determinants. In this article, we consider that smoking modifies leukocyte TL in humans and contributes to its variability among individuals, although the smoking effect on TL and its relation with other metabolic indices may accelerate biological aging and development of smoking‐induced chronic diseases in a large human population‐based cohorts with smoking behavior. Recent studies confirmed that individuals with shorter telomeres present a higher prevalence of arterial lesions and higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. This study originally suggests that efficient therapeutic protection of TL and structure in response to stresses that are known to reduce TL, such as oxidative damage or inflammation associated with tobacco smoking, would lead to better telomere maintenance. Recently, we have discovered the potential use of telomere‐restorative imidazole‐containing dipeptide (non‐hydrolized carnosine, carcinine) based therapy for better survival of smokers. We conclude that a better therapeutic or nutritional maintenance of TL may confer healthy aging in smokers and exceptional longevity in regularly ROS‐exposed human survivors.
Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 2011
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