NKG2D-CAR T cells eliminate senescent cells in aged mice and nonhuman primates

Sci Transl Med. 2023 Aug 16;15(709):eadd1951. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.add1951. Epub 2023 Aug 16.


Cellular senescence, characterized by stable cell cycle arrest, plays an important role in aging and age-associated pathologies. Eliminating senescent cells rejuvenates aged tissues and ameliorates age-associated diseases. Here, we identified that natural killer group 2 member D ligands (NKG2DLs) are up-regulated in senescent cells in vitro, regardless of stimuli that induced cellular senescence, and in various tissues of aged mice and nonhuman primates in vivo. Accordingly, we developed and demonstrated that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting human NKG2DLs selectively and effectively diminish human cells undergoing senescence induced by oncogenic stress, replicative stress, DNA damage, or P16INK4a overexpression in vitro. Targeting senescent cells with mouse NKG2D-CAR T cells alleviated multiple aging-associated pathologies and improved physical performance in both irradiated and aged mice. Autologous T cells armed with the human NKG2D CAR effectively delete naturally occurring senescent cells in aged nonhuman primates without any observed adverse effects. Our findings establish that NKG2D-CAR T cells could serve as potent and selective senolytic agents for aging and age-associated diseases driven by senescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K* / genetics
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K* / metabolism
  • Primates
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • T-Lymphocytes


  • Ligands
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen