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A senescent cell bystander effect: senescence-induced senescence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Glyn NelsonORCiD, James Wordsworth, Dr Diana Jurk, Dr Conor LawlessORCiD, Dr Carmen Martin-RuizORCiD, Professor Thomas von Zglinicki



Senescent cells produce and secrete various bioactive molecules including interleukins, growth factors, matrix-degrading enzymes and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Thus, it has been proposed that senescent cells can damage their local environment, and a stimulatory effect on tumour cell growth and invasiveness has been documented. However, it was unknown what effect, if any, senescent cells have on their normal, proliferation-competent counterparts. We show here that senescent cells induce a DNA damage response, characteristic for senescence, in neighbouring cells via gap junction-mediated cellcell contact and processes involving ROS. Continuous exposure to senescent cells induced cell senescence in intact bystander fibroblasts. Hepatocytes bearing senescence markers clustered together in mice livers. Thus, senescent cells can induce a bystander effect, spreading senescence towards their neighbours in vitro and, possibly, in vivo.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nelson G, Wordsworth J, Wang CF, Jurk D, Lawless C, Martin-Ruiz C, von Zglinicki T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aging Cell

Year: 2012

Volume: 11

Issue: 2

Pages: 345-349

Print publication date: 09/02/2012

Date deposited: 20/11/2012

ISSN (print): 1474-9718

ISSN (electronic): 1474-9726

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2012.00795.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
BBSRC/Procter Gamble CASE
G0601333MRC/Unilever Biomarker grant