The number of p16INK4a positive cells in human skin reflects biological age

Aging Cell. 2012 Aug;11(4):722-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2012.00837.x. Epub 2012 Jun 11.


Cellular senescence is a defense mechanism in response to molecular damage which accumulates with aging. Correspondingly, the number of senescent cells has been reported to be greater in older than in younger subjects and furthermore associates with age-related pathologies. Inter-individual differences exist in the rate at which a person ages (biological age). Here, we studied whether younger biological age is related to fewer senescent cells in middle-aged individuals with the propensity for longevity, using p16INK4a as a marker for cellular senescence. We observed that a younger biological age associates with lower levels of p16INK4a positive cells in human skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism*
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin Aging / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16