Effects of Psychological Stress on Telomeres as Genome Regulators

Laura C. Etzel, Idan Shalev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The role of short telomeres as the trigger for genomic instability and changes in cellular phenotype is well documented; however, aging and disease-related cellular changes may be driven by changes in the structure of telomeres, as influenced by their length, prior to reaching a critically short length. This is pertinent to the relationships among telomere length, psychological stress, and age-related diseases as telomere dynamics over the life span can be influenced by psychological stress. Through epigenetics, inflammation, and oxidative stress brought on by psychological stress, telomeres progressively shorten and change expression of genes. There is evidence that telomeres function as regulators of gene expression via multiple mechanisms, including changes in the telomere position effect (TPE), levels of telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA), and the association of shelterin. Thus psychological stress-induced progressive telomere shortening may generate consequences for the cell that have large implications for the field of stress biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStress
Subtitle of host publicationGenetics, Epigenetics and Genomics Volume 4: Handbook of Stress
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128131565
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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