[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian aging can be delayed with genetic, dietary, and pharmacologic approaches. Given that the elderly population is dramatically increasing and that aging is the greatest risk factor for a majority of chronic diseases driving both morbidity and mortality, it is critical to expand geroscience research directed at extending human healthspan.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to a variety of stresses, mammalian cells undergo a persistent proliferative arrest known as cellular senescence. Many senescence-inducing stressors are potentially oncogenic, strengthening the notion that senescence evolved alongside apoptosis to suppress tumorigenesis. In contrast to apoptosis, senescent cells are stably viable and have the potential to influence neighboring cells through secreted soluble factors, which are collectively known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). However, the SASP has been associated with structural and functional tissue and organ deterioration and may even have tumor-promoting effects, raising the interesting evolutionary question of why apoptosis failed to outcompete senescence as a superior cell fate option. Here, we discuss the advantages that the senescence program may have over apoptosis as a tumor protective mechanism, as well as non-neoplastic functions that may have contributed to its evolution. We also review emerging evidence for the idea that senescent cells are present transiently early in life and are largely beneficial for development, regeneration and homeostasis, and only in advanced age do senescent cells accumulate to an organism's detriment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence is a potent anti-cancer mechanism that arrests the proliferation of mitotically competent cells to prevent malignant transformation. Senescent cells accumulate with age in a variety of human and mouse tissues where they express a complex 'senescence-associated secretory phenotype' (SASP). The SASP includes many pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and proteases that have the potential to cause or exacerbate age-related pathology, both degenerative and hyperplastic. While cellular senescence in peripheral tissues has recently been linked to a number of age-related pathologies, its involvement in brain aging is just beginning to be explored. Recent data generated by several laboratories suggest that both aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases are accompanied by an increase in SASP-expressing senescent cells of non-neuronal origin in the brain. Moreover, this increase correlates with neurodegeneration. Senescent cells in the brain could therefore constitute novel therapeutic targets for treating age-related neuropathologies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human aging is characterized by a chronic, low-grade inflammation, and this phenomenon has been termed as "inflammaging." Inflammaging is a highly significant risk factor for both morbidity and mortality in the elderly people, as most if not all age-related diseases share an inflammatory pathogenesis. Nevertheless, the precise etiology of inflammaging and its potential causal role in contributing to adverse health outcomes remain largely unknown. The identification of pathways that control age-related inflammation across multiple systems is therefore important in order to understand whether treatments that modulate inflammaging may be beneficial in old people. The session on inflammation of the Advances in Gerosciences meeting held at the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging in Bethesda on October 30 and 31, 2013 was aimed at defining these important unanswered questions about inflammaging. This article reports the main outcomes of this session.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 06/2014; 69 Suppl 1:S4-9. · 4.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of the coenzyme NAD+, which is required for many energy-dependent cellular processes, has emerged as a potentially unifying mechanism for age-related conditions. A study in this issue of The EMBO Journal identifies a novel link between depletion of NAD+ and age-associated loss of proliferating adult neural stem/progenitor cells in the murine brain (Stein & Imai, ). These data have important implications for how brain function might decline with age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, regulate gene expression primarily at the posttranscriptional level. We previously found that miR-335 is critically involved in the regulation and differentiation capacity of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in vitro. In this study, we investigated the significance of miR-335 for the therapeutic potential of hMSCs. Analysis of hMSCs in ex vivo culture demonstrated a significant and progressive increase in miR-335 that is prevented by telomerase. Expression levels of miR-335 were also positively correlated with donor age of hMSCs, and were increased by stimuli that induce cell senescence, such as γ-irradiation and standard O2 concentration. Forced expression of miR-335 resulted in early senescence-like alterations in hMSCs, including: increased SA-β-gal activity and cell size, reduced cell proliferation capacity, augmented levels of p16 protein, and the development of a senescent-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Furthermore, overexpression of miR-335 abolished the in vivo chondro-osseous potential of hMSCs, and disabled their immunomodulatory capacity in a murine experimental model of lethal endotoxemia. These effects were accompanied by a severely reduced capacity for cell migration in response to proinflammatory signals and a marked reduction in Protein Kinase D1 (PRKD1) phosphorylation, resulting in a pronounced decrease of AP-1 activity. Our results demonstrate that miR-335 plays a key role in the regulation of reparative activities of hMSCs and suggests that it might be considered a marker for the therapeutic potency of these cells in clinical applications. Stem Cells 2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess unique paracrine and immunosuppressive properties, which make them useful candidates for cellular therapy. Here, we address how cellular senescence influences the therapeutic potential of human MSCs (hMSCs). Senescence was induced in bone marrow-derived hMSC cultures with gamma irradiation. Control and senescent cells were tested for their immunoregulatory activity in vitro and in vivo, and an extensive molecular characterization of the phenotypic changes induced by senescence was performed. We also compared the gene expression profiles of senescent hMSCs with a collection of hMSCs used in an ongoing clinical study of Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). Our results show that senescence induces extensive phenotypic changes in hMSCs and abrogates their protective activity in a murine model of LPS-induced lethal endotoxemia. Although senescent hMSCs retain an ability to regulate the inflammatory response on macrophages in vitro, and, in part retain their capacity to significantly inhibit lymphocyte proliferation, they have a severely impaired migratory capacity in response to proinflammatory signals, which is associated with an inhibition of the AP-1 pathway. Additionally, expression analysis identified PLEC, C8orf48, TRPC4, and ZNF14, as differentially regulated genes in senescent hMSCs that were similarly regulated in those hMSCs which failed to produce a therapeutic effect in a GVHD trial. All the observed phenotypic alterations were confirmed in replicative-senescent hMSCs. In conclusion, this study highlights important changes in the immunomodulatory phenotype of senescent hMSCs and provides candidate gene signatures which may be useful to evaluate the therapeutic potential of hMSCs used in future clinical studies. Stem Cells 2014.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies in mice and humans suggest that cellular senescence, the cessation of cell proliferation that is known to suppress cancer and promote ageing, may have evolved to regulate embryonic development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence irreversibly arrests proliferation in response to potentially oncogenic stress. Senescent cells also secrete inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, which promote age-associated inflammation and pathology. HMGB1 (high mobility group box 1) modulates gene expression in the nucleus, but certain immune cells secrete HMGB1 as an extracellular Alarmin to signal tissue damage. We show that nuclear HMGB1 relocalized to the extracellular milieu in senescent human and mouse cells in culture and in vivo. In contrast to cytokine secretion, HMGB1 redistribution required the p53 tumor suppressor, but not its activator ATM. Moreover, altered HMGB1 expression induced a p53-dependent senescent growth arrest. Senescent fibroblasts secreted oxidized HMGB1, which stimulated cytokine secretion through TLR-4 signaling. HMGB1 depletion, HMGB1 blocking antibody, or TLR-4 inhibition attenuated senescence-associated IL-6 secretion, and exogenous HMGB1 stimulated NF-κB activity and restored IL-6 secretion to HMGB1-depleted cells. Our findings identify senescence as a novel biological setting in which HMGB1 functions and link HMGB1 redistribution to p53 activity and senescence-associated inflammation.
The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2013; · 10.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to environmental toxins is associated with a variety of age-related diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. For example, in Parkinson's disease (PD), chronic environmental exposure to certain toxins has been linked to the age-related development of neuropathology. Neuronal damage is believed to involve the induction of neuroinflammatory events as a consequence of glial cell activation. Cellular senescence is a potent anti-cancer mechanism that occurs in a number of proliferative cell types and causes the arrest of proliferation of cells at risk of malignant transformation following exposure to potentially oncogenic stimuli. With age, senescent cells accumulate and express a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP; that is the robust secretion of many inflammatory cytokines, growth factors and proteases). Whereas cell senescence in peripheral tissues has been causally linked to a number of age-related pathologies, little is known about the induction of cellular senescence and the SASP in the brain. On the basis of recently reported findings, we propose that environmental stressors associated with PD may act in part by eliciting senescence and the SASP within non neuronal glial cells in the ageing brain, thus contributing to the characteristic decline in neuronal integrity that occurs in this disorder.
Journal of Internal Medicine 05/2013; 273(5):429-36. · 6.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is the largest risk factor for most chronic diseases, which account for the majority of morbidity and health care expenditures in developed nations. New findings suggest that aging is a modifiable risk factor, and it may be feasible to delay age-related diseases as a group by modulating fundamental aging mechanisms. One such mechanism is cellular senescence, which can cause chronic inflammation through the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We review the mechanisms that induce senescence and the SASP, their associations with chronic disease and frailty, therapeutic opportunities based on targeting senescent cells and the SASP, and potential paths to developing clinical interventions.
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2013; 123(3):966-72. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer is a devastating disease that increases exponentially with age. Cancer arises from cells that proliferate in an unregulated manner, an attribute that is countered by cellular senescence. Cellular senescence is a potent tumor-suppressive process that halts the proliferation, essentially irreversibly, of cells at risk for malignant transformation. A number of anti-cancer drugs have emerged that induce tumor cells to undergo cellular senescence. However, although a senescence response can halt the proliferation of cancer cells, the presence of senescent cells in tissues has been associated with age-related diseases, including, ironically, late-life cancer. Thus, anti-cancer therapies that can induce senescence might also drive aging phenotypes and age-related pathology. The deleterious effects of senescent cells most likely derive from their senescence-associated secretory phenotype or SASP. The SASP entails the secretion of numerous inflammatory cytokines, growth factors and proteases that can render the tissue microenvironment favorable for tumor growth. Here, we discuss the beneficial and detrimental effects of inducing cellular senescence, and propose strategies for targeting senescent cells as a means to fight cancer.
Interdisciplinary topics in gerontology 01/2013; 38:17-27.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Senescence is a cellular response to damage and stress. The senescence response prevents cancer by suppressing the proliferation of cells with a compromised genome and contributes to optimal wound healing in normal tissues. Persistent senescent cells are also thought to drive aging and age-associated pathologies through their secretion of inflammatory factors that modify the tissue microenvironment and alter the function of nearby normal or transformed cells. Understanding how senescent cells alter the microenvironment would be aided by the ability to induce or eliminate senescent cells at will in vivo. Here, we combine the use of the synthetic nucleoside analog ganciclovir (GCV) with herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) activity to create or eliminate senescent human cells. We show that low concentrations of GCV induce senescence through the accumulation of nuclear DNA damage while higher concentrations of GCV, similar to those used in vivo, kill non-dividing senescent cells via mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and caspase-dependent apoptosis. Using this system, we effectively eliminated xenografted normal human senescent fibroblasts or induced senescence in human breast cancer cells in vivo. Thus, cellular senescence and mtDNA damage are outcomes of synthetic nucleoside analog treatment, indicating that the GCV-HSVtk combination can be used effectively to promote the targeted formation or eradication of senescent cells.
Cell Death & Disease 01/2013; 4:e727. · 6.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A balance must be struck between cell growth and stress responses to ensure that cells proliferate without accumulating damaged DNA. This balance means that optimal cell proliferation requires the integration of pro-growth and stress-response pathways. mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) is a pleiotropic kinase found in complex 1 (mTORC1). The mTORC1 pathway governs a response to mitogenic signals with high energy levels to promote protein synthesis and cell growth. In contrast, the p53 DNA damage response pathway is the arbiter of cell proliferation, restraining mTORC1 under conditions of genotoxic stress. Recent studies suggest a complicated integration of these pathways to ensure successful cell growth and proliferation without compromising genome maintenance. Deciphering this integration could be key to understanding the potential clinical usefulness of mTORC1 inhibitors like rapamycin. Here we discuss how the p53-mTORC1 interactions might play a role in the suppression of cancer and perhaps the development of cellular senescence and organismal aging.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For most species, aging promotes a host of degenerative pathologies that are characterized by debilitating losses of tissue or cellular function. However, especially among vertebrates, aging also promotes hyperplastic pathologies, the most deadly of which is cancer. In contrast to the loss of function that characterizes degenerating cells and tissues, malignant (cancerous) cells must acquire new (albeit aberrant) functions that allow them to develop into a lethal tumor. This review discusses the idea that, despite seemingly opposite characteristics, the degenerative and hyperplastic pathologies of aging are at least partly linked by a common biological phenomenon: a cellular stress response known as cellular senescence. The senescence response is widely recognized as a potent tumor suppressive mechanism. However, recent evidence strengthens the idea that it also drives both degenerative and hyperplastic pathologies, most likely by promoting chronic inflammation. Thus, the senescence response may be the result of antagonistically pleiotropic gene action. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Physiology Volume 75 is February 10, 2013. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
Annual Review of Physiology 11/2012; · 19.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thus, hypoxia appears to inhibit the transition from quiescence to senescence by a non-canonical mechanism that is independent of both p53 and HIF-1. Comment on: Leontieva OV et al. Hypoxia suppresses conversion from proliferative arrest to cellular senescence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Aug 14;109(33):13314-13318.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold promise for the treatment of many human pathologies. For example, hESCs and the neuronal stem cells (NSCs) and neurons derived from them have significant potential as transplantation therapies for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Two concerns about the use of hESCs and their differentiated derivatives are their ability to function and their ability to resist neoplastic transformation in response to stresses that inevitably arise during their preparation for transplantation. To begin to understand how these cells handle genotoxic stress, we examined the responses of hESCs and derived NSCs and neurons to ionizing radiation (IR). Undifferentiated hESCs were extremely sensitive to IR, with nearly all the cells undergoing cell death within 5-7h. NSCs and neurons were substantially more resistant to IR, with neurons showing the most resistant. Of interest, NSCs that survived IR underwent cellular senescence and acquired astrocytic characteristics. Unlike IR-treated astrocytes, however, the NSC-derived astrocytic cells that survived IR did not display the typical pro-inflammatory, pro-carcinogenic senescence-associated secretory phenotype. These findings suggest distinct genotoxic stress-responses of hESCs and derived NSC and neuronal populations, and suggest that damaged NSCs, while failing to function, may not cause local inflammation.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2012; 426(1):100-5. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acquired resistance to anticancer treatments is a substantial barrier to reducing the morbidity and mortality that is attributable to malignant tumors. Components of tissue microenvironments are recognized to profoundly influence cellular phenotypes, including susceptibilities to toxic insults. Using a genome-wide analysis of transcriptional responses to genotoxic stress induced by cancer therapeutics, we identified a spectrum of secreted proteins derived from the tumor microenvironment that includes the Wnt family member wingless-type MMTV integration site family member 16B (WNT16B). We determined that WNT16B expression is regulated by nuclear factor of κ light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells 1 (NF-κB) after DNA damage and subsequently signals in a paracrine manner to activate the canonical Wnt program in tumor cells. The expression of WNT16B in the prostate tumor microenvironment attenuated the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy in vivo, promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression. These results delineate a mechanism by which genotoxic therapies given in a cyclical manner can enhance subsequent treatment resistance through cell nonautonomous effects that are contributed by the tumor microenvironment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and play a critical role in development, homeostasis, and disease. Despite their demonstrated roles in age-associated pathologies, little is known about the role of miRNAs in human aging and longevity. RESULTS: We employed massively parallel sequencing technology to identify miRNAs expressed in B-cells from Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians, i.e., those living to a hundred and a human model of exceptional longevity, and younger controls without a family history of longevity. With data from 26.7 million reads comprising 9.4x108 bp from 3 centenarian and 3 control individuals, we discovered a total of 276 known miRNAs and 8 unknown miRNAs ranging several orders of magnitude in expression levels, a typical characteristics of saturated miRNA-sequencing. A total of 22 miRNAs were found to be significantly upregulated, with only 2 miRNAs downregulated, in centenarians as compared to controls. Gene Ontology analysis of the predicted and validated targets of the 24 differentially expressed miRNAs indicated enrichment of functional pathways involved in cell metabolism, cell cycle, cell signaling, and cell differentiation. A cross sectional expression analysis of the differentially expressed miRNAs in B-cells from Ashkenazi Jewish individuals between the 50th and 100th years of age indicated that expression levels of miR-363* declined significantly with age. Centenarians, however, maintained the youthful expression level. This result suggests that miR-363* may be a candidate longevity-associated miRNA. CONCLUSION: Our comprehensive miRNA data provide a resource for further studies to identify genetic pathways associated with aging and longevity in humans.