Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) maintains telomeres and is rate limiting for replicative life span. While most somatic tissues silence TERT transcription resulting in telomere shortening, cells derived from cancer or cardiovascular diseases express TERT and activate telomerase. In the present study, we demonstrate that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition induces TERT transcription and promoter activation. At the protein level in contrast, HDAC inhibition decreases TERT protein abundance through enhanced degradation, which decreases telomerase activity and induces senescence. Finally, we demonstrate that HDAC inhibition decreases TERT expression during vascular remodeling in vivo. These data illustrate a differential regulation of TERT transcription and protein stability by HDAC inhibition and suggest that TERT may constitute an important target for the anti-proliferative efficacy of HDAC inhibitors.