Senescent Cells and OA Therapy: Research on Mice Finds Evidence of a Causal Link

Mayo Clinic researchers report the discovery of a causal link between senescent cells and osteoarthritis in a recent study of mice. Previous research had noted an association between the presence of senescent cells that accumulate with age and contribute to geratologic frailty, and incidence of osteoarthritis, but this study advances the understanding, according to the authors. James Kirkland, MD, PhD, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, said, “…this is the first time there has been evidence of a causal link. Additionally, we have developed a new senescent cell transplantation model that allows us to test whether clearing senescent cells alleviates or delays osteoarthritis.” The study is published online in Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that almost 31 million people were affected by osteoarthritis—the leading form of arthritis—between 2008 and 2011. Current therapeutic modalities center on pain control joint replacement surgery, or physical aids to mobility. But the new research suggests that targeting senescent cells may offer a new avenue to treating or preventing age related osteoarthritis. In the new study, senescent and nonsenescent cells from ear cartilage were injected into the knee joints of mice, the movement of which were tracked for 10 days using bioluminescence and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The team found that the mice treated with the senescent cells experienced increased leg pain, impaired mobility, and characteristics of osteoarthritis. 

Read more about osteoarthritis, here.

A news story about the findings may be read here.

The article abstract may be read here.

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