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Today, we want to draw your attention to an open-access review that focuses on the role of senescent cells in sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength that leads to frailty.

Aging is the prime risk factor for the broad-based development of diseases. Frailty is a phenotypical hallmark of aging and is often used to assess whether the predicted benefits of a therapy outweigh the risks for older patients. Senescent cells form as a consequence of unresolved molecular damage and persistently secrete molecules that can impair tissue function. Recent evidence shows senescent cells can chronically interfere with stem cell function and drive aging of the musculoskeletal system. In addition, targeted apoptosis of senescent cells can restore tissue homeostasis in aged animals. Thus, targeting cellular senescence provides new therapeutic opportunities for the intervention of frailty-associated pathologies and could have pleiotropic health benefits.

The accumulation of senescent cells is one of the known sources of inflammaging, the chronic, age-related inflammation that is thought to contribute to the decline of the immune system, the loss of tissue regeneration, and the development of many age-related diseases, including most cancers, heart disease, and arthritis.

This review puts forward the case that the accumulation of senescent cells is a significant reason why we age. While their presence in tissue is relatively small even with advanced age, they are extremely harmful to neighboring cells, which they encourage to become senescent as well by secreting proinflammatory signals known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).

The review looks at the various harmful things that the SASP can do, including reducing tissue repair, disturbing the balance between bone formation and resorption, and impairing the function of stem cells. Finally, it also discusses senolytics, which are therapies that remove senescent cells.

Literature

[1] Baar, M. P., Perdiguero, E., Muñoz-Cánoves, P., & de Keizer, P. L. (2018). Musculoskeletal senescence: a moving target ready to be eliminated. Current opinion in pharmacology, 40, 147-155.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.
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