Senescence research from historical theory to future clinical application

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2021 Feb;21(2):125-130. doi: 10.1111/ggi.14121. Epub 2020 Dec 28.


Historically, the findings from cellular lifespan studies have greatly affected aging research. The discovery of replicative senescence by Hayflick developed into research on telomeres and telomerase, while stress-induced senescence became known as a telomere-independent event. Senescence-inducing signals comprise several tumor suppressors or cell cycle inhibitors, e.g., p53, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16 Ink4a and others. Stress-induced senescence serves as a physiological barrier to oncogenesis in vivo, while it activates senescence-associated secretary phenotype, inducing chronic inflammation. Thus, beside telomere length, p16, p53 and inflammatory cytokines have been utilized as biomarkers for cellular senescence. Telomere lengths in human leukocytes correlate well with events of aging-related lifestyle diseases, indicating the importance of cellular senescence in organismal aging. As such, the development of senescence research will have significant future clinical applications, e.g., senolysis. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2021; 21: 125-130.

Keywords: SASP; cell cycle; senolysis; stress-induced senescence; telomere.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Telomerase* / genetics
  • Telomerase* / metabolism
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53* / genetics


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Telomerase