Many cellular stresses activate senescence, a persistent hyporeplicative state characterized in part by expression of the p16INK4a cell-cycle inhibitor. Senescent cell production occurs throughout life and plays beneficial roles in a variety of physiological and pathological processes including embryogenesis, wound healing, host immunity, and tumor suppression. Meanwhile, the steady accumulation of senescent cells with age also has adverse consequences. These non-proliferating cells occupy key cellular niches and elaborate pro-inflammatory cytokines, contributing to aging-related diseases and morbidity. This model suggests that the abundance of senescent cells in vivo predicts "molecular," as opposed to chronologic, age and that senescent cell clearance may mitigate aging-associated pathology.
Keywords: DNA damage; SASP; aging; cancer; cellular senescence; molecular age; p16(INK4a); senolysis; telomere; tumor suppression.
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