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Encyclopedia > Hayflick limit

The Hayflick limit was discovered by Leonard Hayflick in 1965. Hayflick observed that cells dividing in cell culture divided about 50 times before dying. As cells approach this limit, they show more signs of old age. Leonard Hayflick (born in 1928), Ph. ...


Except for HeLa cells the limit to the number of times a cell divides has been noted in all human cell types that have been fully differentiated, as well as in other organisms. It varies from cell type to cell type, and more significantly from organism type to organism type. The human limit is around 52. The limit has been linked to the shortening of telomeres, a region of DNA at the end of chromosomes. HeLa cells dividing under electron microscopy for other meanings, see also the disambiguation page Hela A HeLa cell (also Hela or hela cell) is both an immortal cell line (it does not age) used in medical research and a proposed new single cell species (Helacyton gartleri) created via horizontal gene... Embryonic stem cells differentiate into cells in various body organs. ... A telomere is a region of highly repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome that functions as a disposable buffer. ... The general structure of a section of DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid —usually in the form of a double helix— that contains the genetic instructions specifying the biological development of all cellular forms of life, and most viruses. ... Figure 1: Chromosome. ...


The limit is believed to be one of the causes of aging. It is believed that if the shortening of telomeres can be slowed or prevented, life expectancy can be extended. Much research is happening in this area.


Stem cells, by definition, have not yet been fully differentiated, and therefore many of these cells may continue to regenerate new cells for the entire lifespan of the organism, without limit, thus constituting a notable exception to the Hayflick limit in humans and other organisms. While the manifestations of the constant regenerative effects of stem cells is most easily seen in tissues which must constantly produce replacements for existing cells, such as skin and blood cells, stem cells of one form or another are found in every tissue of the human body, even if only as dormant stem cells known as "spore-like cells" (Vacanti, M. P., A. Roy, J. Cortiella, L. Bonassar, and C. A. Vacanti. 2001. Identification and initial characterization of spore-like cells in adult mammals. J Cell Biochem 80:455-60.). Mouse embryonic stem cells. ... Sketch of bone marrow and its cells Pluripotential hemopoietic stem cells or pluripotential hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) are stem cells found in the bone marrow. ... Spore-like cells are cells that exhibit behavior characteristic of spores. ...


Cancer cells constitute the other main exception to the limits on cell division. It is believed that the Hayflick limit exists principally to help prevent cancer. If a cell becomes cancerous and the Hayflick limit is approaching, the cell will only be able to divide a certain number of times. Once it reaches this limiting number of divisions, the formed tumour will no longer be able to reproduce and the cells will die off. Cancers become problems after having found ways around the Hayflick limit. Cells that have found a way around the limit are referred to as "immortal". Such immortal cells may still die, but the group of immortalized cells produced from cell division of an immortal cell has no limit as to how many times cell division might take place among the cells that constitute such a group of immortalized cells. When normal cells are damaged beyond repair, they are eliminated by apoptosis. ...


See also

Biological immortality can be defined as the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. ...

Reference

  • Hayflick L. The limited in vitro lifetime of human diploid cell strains. Exp Cell Res 1965;37:614-36. PMID 14315085.

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The People of KLRI (0 words)
Hayflick was best know for his research in cell biology and mycoplasmology where he discovered that, contrary to what was believed since the turn of the century, cultured normal human and animal cells have a limited capacity for replication.
Hayflick is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Member of the Tissue Culture Association and is one of the most cited contemporary scientists in the world in the fields of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, enzymology, genetics and molecular biology.
Hayflick is the author of over 225 scientific papers, book chapters and edited books of which four papers are among the 100 most cited scientific papers of the two million papers published in the basic biomedical sciences from 1961 to 1978.
Leonard Hayflick Bio (0 words)
Dr. Hayflick is best known for his research in cell biology and mycoplasmology where he discovered that, contrary to what was believed since the turn of the century, cultured normal human and animal cells have a limited capacity for replication.
Hayflick is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Member of the Tissue Culture Association and, according to the Institute of Scientific Information, is one of the most cited contemporary scientists in the world in the fields of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, enzymology, genetics and molecular biology.
Hayflick is the author of over 250 scientific papers, book chapters and edited books of which four papers are among the 100 most cited scientific papers of the two million papers published in the basic biomedical sciences from 1961 to 1978.
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