The cultivation of cells in vitro has shown that most normal human cells have a limited proliferation potential. It was suggested that this attribute is the expression of aging at the cellular level. Attempts were made to test if the remaining division potential is inversely related to the age of the organism but this could not be ascertained by all the attempts. The putative direct relationship of the division potential with the longevity of the respective species could not be confirmed. What finally became apparent is that the implications for aging of the organism is not reaching the non-dividing end point. Extensive studies have shown that at each division cells suffer modifications at the molecular level, which are cumulative and originate a functional drift. The drift contributes to the permanent reorganization that proceeds from birth to senescence, which explains many of the manifestations of the syndrome of aging. © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS.
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