Children who receive laboratory-expanded sheets of skin to cover severe burns are saved from death, but the skin can have the cellular age of an 80-year-old — further proof that telomere shortening contributes to aging.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina have found that growing small patches of human skin into larger sheets makes cells divide so many times that the skin becomes prematurely aged at a cellular level.

Christopher Counter, a cancer biologist in the Duke University Medical Center, explains in the British journal The Lancet that despite the life-saving abilities of tissue engineering for patients with severe burns, the technique causes the new skin to lose its regenerative capacity over a period of decades.

More here.