Referred to as cellular senescence, senescent or aged cells are only half alive, they don’t replicate or die. However, they end up producing substances that cause inflammation. Over time aged cells accumulate and are associated with many chronic diseases.
These senescent cells increase in our body with age. As the ageing immune system becomes less efficient, the cells accumulate affecting our ability to withstand stress or illness, recover from injuries as well as to learn new things.
Senescent cells in the brain have been shown to degrade cognitive functions. Cellular senescence has also been connected to age-related conditions, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Shown in the image above are a collection of cells. The small ones are the normal cells but amongst them are some large cells – these are the aged or senescent cells.
At the Centenary Institute, we are looking at the impact of cellular senescence and its role in the inflammatory response and disease.