Cellular senescence is a response to damage that causes a cell to fundamentally change its behavior and lose its ability to divide.
A hallmark of aging in many tissues, cellular senescence can be initiated by inflammation, oxidative stress, or any number of other damages, or ‘insults’, associated with aging. Practically, it is likely to be driven by the combination of the many insults cells experience over time. Senescent cells are problematic because they have been shown to secrete a cocktail of signals called the ‘Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype’ (SASP) that may further harm or hinder nearby cells.
GCRLE Grantee projects
Dr Amanda Kallen: One marker scientists have identified as a characteristic of senescent cells is the p16 protein. Clearing accumulated senescent cells by targeting the p16 protein may be able to delay aging in mice. Though p16 expression has been found in eggs and follicles of various ages, no previous research has investigated its potential role in reproductive aging. The Kallman lab is correcting this oversight by rigorously testing features of reproductive health, fertility, and lifespan in mice cleared of p16-positive senescent cells.