Korean J Adult Nurs.  2023 Feb;35(1):1-12. 10.7475/kjan.2023.35.1.1.

The Understanding and Application of Telomere Length as an Emerging Biomarker in Adult Nursing Research: A Review

  • 1Graduate Student, College of Nursing, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea
  • 2Associate Scientist, National Cancer Survivorship Center, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 3Professor, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea
  • 4Professor, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea
  • 5Professor, College of Nursing, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea


This study aimed to provide an overview of telomere length (TL) as an emerging biomarker in adult healthcare. Additionally, some measurement considerations and future directions for its application in adult nursing research were described.
A comprehensive literature review was conducted.
TL is a widely known indicator of aging and aging-related diseases at the molecular level. Throughout the literature, TL has been established as a useful biomarker that is indicative of aging-related diseases such as cancer, metabolic diseases, and psychological distress and their resulting health conditions. The main pathway of TL shortening appears as an interaction between genetic and environmental factors through a mechanism commonly known as oxidative stress and inflammation. TL attrition may be slowed down, stopped, or even lengthened by interventions such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, lifestyle modifications, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which have been demonstrated to have a positive effect on TL. As these interventions have been widely applied in adult nursing research, the value and scope of adult nursing science can be expanded by using TL in such research.
TL has been shown to be associated with age-related diseases, which are mainly studied in adult nursing research. Therefore, it is necessary to explore various nursing phenomena using TL as a biomarker through adult nursing research and to develop nursing interventions that have a positive effect on TL.


Telomere; Biomarker; Adult; Nursing; Review
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