Since kallikrein was discovered as a vasodilatory substance in human urine, the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) has been considered to play a physiological role in controlling blood pressure. Gene targeting experiments in mice in which the KKS has been inactivated to varying degrees have, however, questioned this role, because basal blood pressures are not altered. Rather, these experiments have shown that the KKS has a different and important role in preventing changes associated with normal senescence in mice, and in reducing the nephropathy and accelerated senescence-associated phenotypes induced in mice by diabetes. Other experiments have shown that the KKS suppresses mitochondrial respiration, partly by nitric oxide and prostaglandins, and that this suppression may be a key to understanding how the KKS influences senescence-related diseases. Here we review the logical progression and experimental data leading to these conclusions, and discuss their relevance to human conditions.