Senescence in pulmonary arterial hypertension: is there a link?

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2022 Jul 1;28(4):303-306. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000879.


Purpose of review: Cellular senescence has been recognized as a promising target in the treatment of many cardiovascular diseases. The pathways involved in the development of senescence share many similarities with pathobiological mechanisms of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). But the potential of senolytics to improve pulmonary hemodynamics and to reduce vascular remodelling in PAH has thus far not been investigated in depth.

Recent findings: PAH does not seem to be a disease of only young people since the mean age of PAH patients is constantly increasing. Changes in expression of senescence biomarkers related to cell cycle arrest, namely upregulation of the tumour suppressor protein p53 and the cell cycle inhibitors p16ink4A an p21cip1 as well as an increase in apoptosis resistance biomarker Bcl2 (B-cell lymphoma 2) and development of senescence-associated phenotype characterized by excessive production of matrix metalloproteinase 2 and interleukin 6 were demonstrated in PAH patients. Initiatives to link the senescence-modulating effect of certain compounds to clinically relevant outcomes in PAH are still limited.

Summary: Further exploration of the role of senescence in the pathobiology of PAH may point to new relevant treatment strategies. Identification of the cell-specific senescence biomarkers which can be used in vivo, could further promote identification of clinically relevant pathways and design of clinical studies which will help to establish effective therapeutic use of senolytic compounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension*
  • Pulmonary Artery


  • Biomarkers
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2