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Nat Med. 2017 Jun;23(6):775-781. doi: 10.1038/nm.4324. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Local clearance of senescent cells attenuates the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis and creates a pro-regenerative environment.

Author information

1
Translational Tissue Engineering Center, Wilmer Eye Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
2
Department of Chemistry, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, South Korea.
3
Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, California, USA.
4
Unity Biotechnology, Inc., Brisbane, California, USA.
5
European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA), University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
6
Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
7
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, Berkley, California, USA.

Abstract

Senescent cells (SnCs) accumulate in many vertebrate tissues with age and contribute to age-related pathologies, presumably through their secretion of factors contributing to the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Removal of SnCs delays several pathologies and increases healthy lifespan. Aging and trauma are risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic disease characterized by degeneration of articular cartilage leading to pain and physical disability. Senescent chondrocytes are found in cartilage tissue isolated from patients undergoing joint replacement surgery, yet their role in disease pathogenesis is unknown. To test the idea that SnCs might play a causative role in OA, we used the p16-3MR transgenic mouse, which harbors a p16INK4a (Cdkn2a) promoter driving the expression of a fusion protein containing synthetic Renilla luciferase and monomeric red fluorescent protein domains, as well as a truncated form of herpes simplex virus 1 thymidine kinase (HSV-TK). This mouse strain allowed us to selectively follow and remove SnCs after anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT). We found that SnCs accumulated in the articular cartilage and synovium after ACLT, and selective elimination of these cells attenuated the development of post-traumatic OA, reduced pain and increased cartilage development. Intra-articular injection of a senolytic molecule that selectively killed SnCs validated these results in transgenic, non-transgenic and aged mice. Selective removal of the SnCs from in vitro cultures of chondrocytes isolated from patients with OA undergoing total knee replacement decreased expression of senescent and inflammatory markers while also increasing expression of cartilage tissue extracellular matrix proteins. Collectively, these findings support the use of SnCs as a therapeutic target for treating degenerative joint disease.

Comment in

PMID:
28436958
PMCID:
PMC5785239
DOI:
10.1038/nm.4324
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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