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How good is the evidence that cellular senescence causes skin ageing?

Low, Evon and Alimohammadiha, Ghazaleh and Smith, Lucy A. and Costello, Lydia F. and Przyborski, Stefan A. and von Zglinicki, Thomas and Miwa, Satomi (2021) 'How good is the evidence that cellular senescence causes skin ageing?', Ageing Research Reviews, 71 . p. 101456.


Skin is the largest organ of the body with important protective functions, which become compromised with time due to both intrinsic and extrinsic ageing processes. Cellular senescence is the primary ageing process at cell level, associated with loss of proliferative capacity, mitochondrial dysfunction and significantly altered patterns of expression and secretion of bioactive molecules. Intervention experiments have proven cell senescence as a relevant cause of ageing in many organs. In case of skin, accumulation of senescence in all major compartments with ageing is well documented and might be responsible for most, if not all, the molecular changes observed during ageing. Incorporation of senescent cells into in-vitro skin models (specifically 3D full thickness models) recapitulates changes typically associated with skin ageing. However, crucial evidence is still missing. A beneficial effect of senescent cell ablation on skin ageing has so far only been shown following rather unspecific interventions or in transgenic mouse models. We conclude that evidence for cellular senescence as a relevant cause of intrinsic skin ageing is highly suggestive but not yet completely conclusive.

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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:31 August 2021
Date deposited:22 October 2021
Date of first online publication:03 September 2021
Date first made open access:22 October 2021

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