Cellular senescence is a permanent state of cell cycle arrest that promotes tissue remodeling during development and after injury, but can also contribute to the decline of the regenerative potential and function of tissues, to inflammation, and to tumorigenesis in aged organisms. Therefore, the identification, characterization, and pharmacological elimination of senescent cells have gained attention in the field of aging research. However, the nonspecificity of current senescence markers and the existence of different senescence programs strongly limit these tasks. Here, we describe the molecular regulators of senescence phenotypes and how they are used for identifying senescent cells in vitro and in vivo. We also highlight the importance that these levels of regulations have in the development of therapeutic targets.
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