The following is a summary of “Genetic Variants in Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Contribute to Solar Lentigines” published in the June 2023 issue of Investigative Dermatology by Peng et al.
Solar lentigines (SLs) are an indicator of the aging epidermis in humans. They are caused by prolonged exposure to the sun and other environmental toxins. Recent studies also suggest genetic factors; however, the findings are partially contradictory and lack replication.
Through a multi-trait-based analysis strategy, researchers found that genetic variants in telomerase reverse transcriptase were significantly associated with non-facial SL in three populations: two East Asian (Taizhou longitudinal cohort, n = 2,964 and National Survey of Physical Traits, n = 2,954) and one Caucasian (SALIA, n = 462), top SNP rs2853672 (P-value for Taizhou longitudinal cohort = 1.32 × 10-28 and P-value for National Survey of Physical Traits = 3.66 × 10-17 and P-value for SALIA = 0.0007 and Pmeta = 4.93 × 10-44). The same variants were nominally associated with facial SL but not other skin aging or pigmentation characteristics.
The telomerase reverse transcriptase gene transcription was upregulated by the SL-enhanced allele/haplotype. Notably, well-known telomerase change transcriptase-related aging markers such as leukocyte telomere length and intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration were unrelated to SL. Their findings reveal a previously unrecognized function of telomerase reverse transcriptase in forming age-related lentigines.