Study discovers that stem cell senescence drives aging

Declining levels of the protein BubR1 occur when both people and animals age, and contribute to cell senescence or deterioration, weight loss, muscle wasting and cataracts. Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that adult progenitor or stem cells—important for repair and regeneration of skeletal muscle and maintenance of healthy fat tissue—are subject to cellular senescence, and that clearance of these cells limits age-related deterioration of these tissues. The findings appear today online in the journal Cell Reports.

BubR1 is an essential part of the mitotic checkpoint, the mechanism controlling proper cell division or mitosis. Without sufficient levels of BubR1, chromosomal imbalance will occur, leading to premature aging and cancer. Using mutant mice that expressed low levels of BubR1, the researchers found development of dysfunctional tissue with impaired cell regeneration. In analyzing the progenitor populations in skeletal muscle and fat, they found that a subset of progenitors was senescent and that the was acting to prevent this from happening through activation of p21.

"Earlier we discovered that accumulate in tissues with aging and that removal of these cells delays age-related functional decline in these tissues," says Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist and senior author of the study. "The key advance of the current study is that the progenitor cell populations are most sensitive for senescence, thereby interfering with the innate capacity of the tissue to counteract degeneration."

Not only do the findings contribute to knowledge on as it relates to aging and related diseases, but understanding the mechanisms may lead to future therapies, say the researchers.

Related Stories

Study unmasks regulator of healthy life span

Dec 17, 2012

A new series of studies in mouse models by Mayo Clinic researchers uncovered that the aging process is characterized by high rates of whole-chromosome losses and gains in various organs, including heart, muscle, kidney and ...

Researchers discover tactic to delay age-related disorders

Nov 02, 2011

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that eliminating cells that accumulate with age could prevent or delay the onset of age-related disorders and disabilities. The study, performed in mouse models, provides the first evidence ...

Preventing cancer without killing cells

Mar 30, 2007

Inducing senescence in aged cells may be sufficient to guard against spontaneous cancer development, according to a paper published online this week in EMBO reports. It was previously unknown whether cellular senescence or ...

Cell senescence does not stop tumor growth

Jan 19, 2012

Since cancer cells grow indefinitely, it is commonly believed that senescence could act as a barrier against tumor growth and potentially be used as a way to treat cancer. A collaboration between a cancer biologist from the ...

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

7 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

8 hours ago

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

User comments