Zombie cells are the ones that can’t die but are equally unable to perform the functions of a normal cell. These zombie, or senescent, cells are implicated in a number of age-related diseases. And with a new letter in Nature, Mayo Clinic researchers have expanded that list.
In a mouse model of brain disease, scientists report that senescent cells accumulate in certain brain cells prior to cognitive loss. By preventing the accumulation of these cells, they were able to diminish tau protein aggregation, neuronal death and memory loss.
“Senescent cells are known to accumulate with advancing natural age and at sites related to diseases of aging, including osteoarthritis; atherosclerosis; and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” says Darren Baker, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist and senior author of the paper. “In prior studies, we have found that elimination of senescent cells from naturally aged mice extends their healthy life span.”
In the current study, the team used a model that imitates aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We used a mouse model that produces sticky, cobweb like tangles of tau protein in neurons and has genetic modifications to allow for senescent cell elimination,” explains first author Tyler Bussian, a Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences student who is part of Dr. Baker’s lab. “When senescent cells were removed, we found that the diseased animals retained the ability to form memories, eliminated signs of inflammation, did not develop neurofibrillary tangles, and had maintained normal brain mass.” They also report that pharmacological intervention to remove senescent cells modulated the clumping of tau proteins.
Also, the team was able to identify the specific type of cell that became senescent, says Dr. Baker.
“Two different brain cell types called ‘microglia’ and ‘astrocytes’ were found to be senescent when we looked at brain tissue under the microscope,” says Bussian. “These cells are important supporters of neuronal health and signaling, so it makes sense that senescence in either would negatively impact neuron health.”
The finding was somewhat surprising, explains Dr. Baker, because at the time their research started, a causal link between senescent cells and neurodegenerative disease had not been established.
“We had no idea whether senescent cells actively contributed to disease pathology in the brain, and to find that it’s the astrocytes and microglia that are prone to senescence is somewhat of a surprise, as well,” says Dr. Baker.
In terms of future work, Dr. Baker explains that this research lays out the best-case scenario, where prevention of damage to the brain avoided the disease state. “Clearly, this same approach cannot be applied clinically, so we are starting to treat animals after disease establishment and working on new models to examine the specific molecular alterations that occur in the affected cells,” says Dr. Baker.
The Latest on: Senescent cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Senescent cells
- New Insight Into the Balance Between the Tumor-suppressive and Tumor-promoting Effects of Cellular Senescence on February 18, 2019 at 8:46 am
Newswise — PHILADELPHIA — (Feb. 18, 2019) — Researchers at The Wistar Institute have described a novel role of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolism in the ability of senescent cells to ... […]
- 1st Human Trial Passed for Anti-Aging Treatment that Kills Old Cells on February 18, 2019 at 1:39 am
Not all damaged cells die. Some stick around as senescent cells, unable to divide but still able to produce chemical signals — and they could play a major role in the battle against aging. "It is thou... […]
- Miracle anti-aging pill nearer reality after breakthrough on February 14, 2019 at 1:54 am
The vital cell process plays a key role in age related illnesses. Developing a drug to combat it is considered the Holy Grail in anti-aging research. Senescent cells have also been dubbed ... […]
- A cell-killing strategy to slow aging passed its first test this year on February 13, 2019 at 3:03 am
These drugs take aim at senescent cells, which have exhausted their ability to divide but remain capable of spewing out a potent mix of chemical signals. “It is thought that these cells and the substa... […]
- Importance Of Immune System In Clearing Old Cells on February 10, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Senescent cells are an important research target as a number of age related and inflammatory diseases are implicated in the accumulation of these cells. With age more cells become senescent and no lon... […]
- How a decades-old HIV drug might help treat Alzheimer's, age-related diseases on February 8, 2019 at 6:26 am
When people grow old, some cells stop dividing. These so-called “senescent cells” harbor inflammation-prone risk factors known as senescence-associated secretory phenotypes (SASPs). Biopharma is a fas... […]
- Biologists answer fundamental question about cell size on February 7, 2019 at 8:33 am
suggesting a possible explanation for how cells become senescent as they age. "There are so many hypotheses out there that try to explain why senescence happens, and I think this data provides a beaut... […]
- Generic HIV drug reduces signs of aging in mice on February 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm
In the new paper, the research team showed that an important class of retrotransposons, called L1, escaped from cellular control and began to replicate in both senescent human cells—old cells that no ... […]
- HIV drug could treat Alzheimer's, age-associated disorders on February 6, 2019 at 11:41 am
Researchers have found that blocking retrotransposon activity with a generic HIV/AIDS medication significantly reduces age-related inflammation in old mice and senescent human cells, providing hope fo... […]
via Bing News