Senescence: Definition, Mechanism, and Examples

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Senescence Definition

Biological ageing is characterized as senescence. In cell biology, it refers to a cell that has lost its ability to divide but is still metabolically active and alive. Senescence comes from the Latin word senscere, which meaning “to age.”

What is Senescence?

The biological ageing of a living organism is referred to as senescence. It refers to a cell’s or an organism’s morphological characteristics and function deteriorating over time. On a cellular level, senescence is the point in a cell’s life cycle when it stops dividing. A fibroblast cell, for example, may only perform 50 mitotic divisions before becoming senescent. The Hayflick phenomenon is the name for this.

It happens spontaneously and is caused by the shortening of telomeres, which leads to DNA damage. Excessive exposure to reactive oxygen species, oncogene activation, and cell-to-cell fusion are all linked to cellular senescence. When a cell reaches senescence, it ceases to divide yet continues to function metabolically. Senescence manifests itself at the level of the entire organism as it matures. With age, one’s capacity to operate and deal with stress deteriorates.

The human body grows increasingly prone to illness and malfunction as we age. Aging is heterogeneous, which means that many organ systems are losing function.

In plants, senescence is the last stage of development. Hormones that cause senescence in plants include ethylene and abscisic acid, which are well-known hormones. The process can take place at several levels, such as at the organ level (for example, leaf senescence) and at the organismal level (Annuals that perish after one season, for example, are a good example of this.).

Plant fitness and survival are dependent on senescence. The nutrients from senescing fall leaves, for example, will be relocated to stems or roots by the trees, where they will be utilized later during the formation of new leaves or blooms.

Senescence Citations
  • Dissecting Aging and Senescence-Current Concepts and Open Lessons. Cells . 2019 Nov 15;8(11):1446.
  • Cellular Senescence: Aging, Cancer, and Injury. Physiol Rev . 2019 Apr 1;99(2):1047-1078.
  • Mechanisms and functions of cellular senescence. J Clin Invest . 2018 Apr 2;128(4):1238-1246.
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