Khavinson, V.K., Bondarev, I.E., Butyugov, A.A. et al. Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine (2004) 137: 503. doi:10.1023/B:BEBM.0000038164.49947.8c
We previously showed that treatment of normal human diploid cells with Epithalon (Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly) induced expression of telomerase catalytic subunit, its enzymatic activity, and elongation of telomeres. Here we studied the effect of this peptide on proliferative potential of human fetal fibroblasts. Primary pulmonary fibroblasts derived from a 24-week fetus lost the proliferative potential at the 34th passage. The mean size of telomeres in these cells was appreciably lower than during early passages (passage 10). Addition of Epithalon to aging cells in culture induced elongation of telomeres to the size comparable to their length during early passages. Peptide-treated cells with elongated telomeres made 10 extra divisions (44 passages) in comparison with the control and continued dividing. Hence, Epithalon prolonged the vital cycle of normal human cells due to overcoming the Heyflick limit.