The biology of aging is becoming an increasingly popular area of research; both life-limiting age-related diseases and the mechanisms underlying a longer healthy lifespan are intriguing to researchers and the public alike.
A new thematic series from Longevity & Healthspan focuses primarily on one aspect of aging; cellular senescence. The series, edited by Professors John M Sedivy and Jan M van Deursen, recently published an Editorial highlighting our current understanding of the mechanisms of cellular senescence and explains the need for continued study of this growing area of research.
The Editorial describes how cellular senescence can be triggered by many intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli, from activation of oncogenes to nutrient imbalances. In any case, it is known that p52 or retinoblastoma tumor suppressor proteins, or both, are activated via central signalling pathways and this is responsible for initiating and maintaining the cellular senescent state. In addition to understanding the mechanisms leading to cellular senescence, our knowledge of the senescent cell phenotype has also grown considerably; we now know that a typical senescent cell displays genotoxic stress, secretes specific inflammatory cytokins and contains a certain type of facultative heterochromatin.
The solid connection between cellular senescence and organismal aging requires further study. Therapeutically, there may be large implications for senescent cells; if there is an accumulation of senescent cells as we age and they are also present at sites of age-associated pathologies, perhaps removal of these cells would help to improve healthy lifespan.
It is these topics that the Cellular Senescence and Aging thematic aims to address. Pre-submission enquires on all areas relating to cellular senescence and aging are welcome and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay up to date with publications in Longevity & Healthspan, sign up to receive article alerts here.