Cell senescence is a process that causes growth arrest and the release of a senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP), characterized by secretion of chemokines, cytokines, cell growth factors and metalloproteases, leading to a tissue condition that may precipitate cancers and neurodegenerative processes. With the recent pandemic of coronavirus, senolytic drugs are being considered as possible therapeutic tools to reduce the virulence of SARS-CoV-2. In the last few years, our research group showed that lithium carbonate at microdose levels was able to stabilize memory and change neuropathological characteristics of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present work, we present evidence that low-dose lithium can reduce the SASP of human iPSCs-derived astrocytes following acute treatment, suggesting that microdose lithium could protect cells from senescence and development of aging-related conditions. With the present findings, a perspective of the potential use of low-dose lithium in old patients from the "high risk group" for COVID-19 (with hypertension, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is presented.
Keywords: COVID-19; cell senescence; chronic inflammation; lithium; senolytics.