Replicative senescence: a critical review

Mech Ageing Dev. Oct-Nov 2004;125(10-11):827-48. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2004.07.010.


Human cells in culture have a limited proliferative capacity. After a period of vigorous proliferation, the rate of cell division declines and a number of changes occur in the cells including increases in size, in secondary lysosomes and residual bodies, nuclear changes and a number of changes in gene expression which provide biomarkers for senescence. Although human cells in culture have been used for over 40 years as models for understanding the cellular basis of aging, the relationship of replicative senescence to aging of the organism is still not clear. In this review, we discuss replicative senescence in the light of current information on signal transduction and mitogenesis, cell stress, apoptosis, telomere changes and finally we discuss replicative senescence as a model of aging in vivo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Telomere / physiology