Cellular senescence is considered a stress response imposing a stable cell cycle arrest to restrict the growth of damaged cells. More recently however, cellular senescence was identified during mouse embryo development at particular structures during specific periods of time. This programmed cell senescence has been proposed to serve developmental and morphogenetic functions and to potentially represent an evolutionary origin of senescence. Cellular senescence has also been described to take place during bird (chick and quail) and amphibian (xenopus and axoltl) development. Fish however, have been described to show a very narrow and restricted pattern of developmental cell senescence. Here we carried out a detailed characterization of senescence during zebrafish development and found it to be conserved and widespread. Apart from yolk and cloaca, previously described structures, we also identified senescence in the developing central nervous system, intestine, liver, pronephric ducts, and crystalline. Interestingly, senescence at these developing structures disappeared upon treatment with senolytic compound ABT-263, supporting their senescent identity and opening the possibility of studying the contribution of this process to development. In summary, our findings extend the description of developmentally-programmed cell senescence to lower vertebrates contributing to the notion of the relevance of this process for embryo development.
Keywords: cellular senescence; development; zebrafish.