Characterization of cellular senescence in aging skeletal muscle

Nat Aging. 2022 Jul;2(7):601-615. doi: 10.1038/s43587-022-00250-8. Epub 2022 Jul 15.


Senescence is a cell fate that contributes to multiple aging-related pathologies. Despite profound age-associated changes in skeletal muscle (SkM), whether its constituent cells are prone to senesce has not been methodically examined. Herein, using single cell and bulk RNA-sequencing and complementary imaging methods on SkM of young and old mice, we demonstrate that a subpopulation of old fibroadipogenic progenitors highly expresses p16 Ink4a together with multiple senescence-related genes and, concomitantly, exhibits DNA damage and chromatin reorganization. Through analysis of isolated myofibers, we also detail a senescence phenotype within a subset of old cells, governed instead by p2 Cip1 . Administration of a senotherapeutic intervention to old mice countered age-related molecular and morphological changes and improved SkM strength. Finally, we found that the senescence phenotype is conserved in SkM from older humans. Collectively, our data provide compelling evidence for cellular senescence as a hallmark and potentially tractable mediator of SkM aging.

Trial registration: NCT01477164.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging* / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence* / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Phenotype


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16

Associated data