In a study recently published in NatureResearchers at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine have found that senescent immune cells are the most dangerous type of senescent cell.
Cells become senescent when damaged or stressed in the body, and they build up in our organs as we age. Senescent cells cause inflammation and aging as well as most age-related diseases.
The research team – led by Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics – found that senescent immune cells cause tissue damage all over the body and shorten lifespan. Therefore, senescent immune cells are harmful and must be targeted with senolytics.
Researchers at the U of M, including Niedernhofer and collaborators at the Mayo Clinic, previously identified a new class of drugs in 2015 and invented them as senolytics, which selectively remove senescent cells from your body. However, senolytic drugs must be targeted to a specific cell type, so that a senolytic drug is not able to kill a senescent brain cell and a senescent liver cell.
“Now that we have identified which cell type is the most deleterious, this work will direct us towards the development of senolytics that target senescent immune cells,” said Niedernhofer, who is also director of the Institute on the Biology of Aging and metabolism at U of M Medical School, one of the state-sponsored medical discovery teams. “We also hope this will help guide the discovery of biomarkers in immune cell populations that will help determine who is at risk for tissue damage and rapid aging, and therefore who needs senolytic therapy the most.”
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Material provided by University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Original written by Kelly Glynn. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.