Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major disease of the lungs. It primarily occurs after a prolonged period of cigarette smoking. Chronic inflammation of airways and the alveolar space as well as lung tissue destruction are the hallmarks of COPD. Recently it has been shown that cellular senescence might play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD. Cellular senescence comprises signal transduction program, leading to irreversible cell cycle arrest. The growth arrest in senescence can be triggered by many different mechanisms, including DNA damage and its recognition by cellular sensors, leading to the activation of cell cycle checkpoint responses and activation of DNA repair machinery. Senescence can be induced by several genotoxic factors apart from telomere attrition. When senescence induction is based on DNA damage, senescent cells display a unique phenotype, which has been termed "senescence-associated secretory phenotype" (SASP). SASP may be an important driver of chronic inflammation and therefore may be part of a vicious cycle of inflammation, DNA damage, and senescence. This research perspective aims to showcase cellular senescence with relevance to COPD and the striking similarities between the mediators and secretory phenotype in COPD and SASP.
Keywords: aging; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cigarette smoke; inflammation; senescence.