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      The role of senescent cells in ageing

      Nature

      Springer Nature America, Inc

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          Most cited references 54

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          Aging, Cellular Senescence, and Cancer

          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.
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            Oxidative stress shortens telomeres.

            Telomeres in most human cells shorten with each round of DNA replication, because they lack the enzyme telomerase. This is not, however, the only determinant of the rate of loss of telomeric DNA. Oxidative damage is repaired less well in telomeric DNA than elsewhere in the chromosome, and oxidative stress accelerates telomere loss, whereas antioxidants decelerate it. I suggest here that oxidative stress is an important modulator of telomere loss and that telomere-driven replicative senescence is primarily a stress response. This might have evolved to block the growth of cells that have been exposed to a high risk of mutation.
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              Senescence and tumour clearance is triggered by p53 restoration in murine liver carcinomas.

              Although cancer arises from a combination of mutations in oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, the extent to which tumour suppressor gene loss is required for maintaining established tumours is poorly understood. p53 is an important tumour suppressor that acts to restrict proliferation in response to DNA damage or deregulation of mitogenic oncogenes, by leading to the induction of various cell cycle checkpoints, apoptosis or cellular senescence. Consequently, p53 mutations increase cell proliferation and survival, and in some settings promote genomic instability and resistance to certain chemotherapies. To determine the consequences of reactivating the p53 pathway in tumours, we used RNA interference (RNAi) to conditionally regulate endogenous p53 expression in a mosaic mouse model of liver carcinoma. We show that even brief reactivation of endogenous p53 in p53-deficient tumours can produce complete tumour regressions. The primary response to p53 was not apoptosis, but instead involved the induction of a cellular senescence program that was associated with differentiation and the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines. This program, although producing only cell cycle arrest in vitro, also triggered an innate immune response that targeted the tumour cells in vivo, thereby contributing to tumour clearance. Our study indicates that p53 loss can be required for the maintenance of aggressive carcinomas, and illustrates how the cellular senescence program can act together with the innate immune system to potently limit tumour growth.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/nature13193
                24848057
                4214092

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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