It is well known that the number of dividing cells in an organism decreases with age. The average rate of cell division in tissues and organs of a mature organism sharply decreases, which is probably a trigger for accumulation of damage leading to disturbance of genome integrity. This can be a cause for the development of many age-related diseases and appearance of phenotypic and physiological signs of aging. In this connection, the protein poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation system, which is activated in response to appearance of various DNA damage, attracts great interest. This review summarizes and analyzes data on changes in the poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation system during development and aging in vivo and in vitro, and due to restriction of cell proliferation. Special attention is given to methodological aspects of determination of activity of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs). Analysis of relevant publications and our own data has led us to the conclusion that PARP activity upon the addition of free DNA ends (in this review referred to as stimulated PARP activity) is steadily decreasing with age. However, the dynamics of PARP activity measured without additional activation of the enzyme (in this review referred to as unstimulated activity) does not have such a clear trend: in many studies, the presented differences are statistically non-significant, although it is well known that the number of unrepaired DNA lesions steadily increases with aging. Apparently, the cell has additional regulatory systems that limit its own capability of reacting to DNA damage. Special attention is given to the influence of the cell proliferative status on PARP activity. We have systematized and analyzed data on changes in PARP activity during development and aging of an organism, as well as data on differences in the dynamics of this activity in the presence/absence of additional stimulation and on cellular processes that are associated with activation of these enzymes. Moreover, data obtained in different models of cellular aging are compared.