Feb 8, 2019

New Senescent Cell Biomarker Discovered

Posted by in category: life extension

Researchers have made progress on the road to effective biomarkers for senescent cells.

In aging research, there has long been a need for better biomarkers that can detect and confirm the presence of senescent cells. This has become particularly urgent in recent years due to the meteoric rise of the senescent cell-clearing therapies known as senolytics.

Traditional ways of measuring senescent cell populations are problematic and have multiple shortfalls, so the development of better biomarkers is very important. Today, we share a new publication in which researchers take a step towards developing such a biomarker [1].


The activation of cellular senescence throughout the lifespan promotes tumor suppression, whereas the persistence of senescent cells contributes to aspects of aging. This theory has been limited, however, by an inability to identify and isolate individual senescent cells within an intact organism. Toward that end, we generated a murine reporter strain by “knocking-in” a fluorochrome, tandem-dimer Tomato (tdTom), into exon 1α of the p16INK4a locus. We used this allele (p16tdTom) for the enumeration, isolation, and characterization of individual p16INK4a-expressing cells (tdTom+). The half-life of the knocked-in transcript was shorter than that of the endogenous p16INK4a mRNA, and therefore reporter expression better correlated with p16INK4a promoter activation than p16INK4a transcript abundance. The frequency of tdTom+ cells increased with serial passage in cultured murine embryo fibroblasts from p16tdTom/+ mice.

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