immortalized cells

Gregory Bloom gjb at evolving.com
Thu Nov 9 18:32:42 EST 1995

Recent articles here regarding the significance of the telomere
in senescence have stated that the telomere is plenty long enough
at death in most organisms, and thus may not count much toward
the aging process.  Other articles have pointed to cumulative
degradation by oxidation, glycolization, methylation, etc. as
the principal source of ageing.

My question is - what makes immortalized cell lines immortal?
Do they suffer any of the cumulative damage from oxidation?
If so, are their repair mechanisms simply revved up beyond
normal "mortal" cells?  If they have active telomerase, does
the telomere simply increase without bounds, until the whole
nucleus is swimming in a tangled web of telomere DNA?

Are immortal cells truely immortal, or are they more like
"George Washington's original axe" where the head has been
replaced five times, and the handle six?

Gregory Bloom  mailto:Gregory.Bloom at evolving.com  vox:303.740.5706
fax:303.740.5800  ESI, 6892 S. Yosemite Court, Englewood, CO 80111

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