UCL Division of Biosciences


Is “cellular senescence” a misnomer? A critique of the concept of cellular senescence.

12 September 2022


Carina Kern and David Gems from the IHA have published a critique of the concept of cellular senescence. 

It became clear that, prior to aging, this phenomenon is in fact adaptive. It supports tissue remodeling functions in a variety of contexts, including embryogenesis, parturition, and acute infammatory processes that restore normal tissue architecture and function, such as wound healing, tissue repair after infection, and amphibian limb regeneration. In these contexts, such cells are normal and healthy and not in any way senescent in the true sense of the word, as originally meant by Hayfick. Thus, it is misleading to refer to them as “senescent.”

The common assertion that senescent cells accumulate with age due to stress and DNA damage is no longer safe, particularly given their role in infammation.