Cavinato, M., Madreiter-Sokolowski, C.T., Büttner, S., Schosserer, M., Zwerschke, W., Wedel, S., Grillari, J., Graier, W.F., Jansen-Dürr, P.
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The FEBS Journal
Cellular senescence, a stable cell division arrest caused by severe damage and stress, is a hallmark of aging in vertebrates including humans. With progressing age, senescent cells accumulate in a variety of mammalian tissues, where they contribute to tissue aging, identifying cellular senescence as a major target to delay or prevent aging. There is an increasing demand for the discovery of new classes of small molecules which would either avoid or postpone cellular senescence by selectively eliminating senescent cells from the body (i.e. "senolytics") or inactivating/switching damage-inducing properties of senescent cells (i.e. "senostatics/senomorphics"), such as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Whereas compounds with senolytic or senostatic activity have already been described, their efficacy and specificity has not been fully established for clinical use yet. Here, we review mechanisms of senescence that are related to mitochondria and their inter-organelle communication, and the involvement of proteostasis networks and metabolic control in the senescent phenotype. These cellular functions are associated with cellular senescence in in vitro and in vivo models but have not been fully exploited for the search of new compounds to counteract senescence yet. Therefore, we explore possibilities to target these mechanisms as new opportunities to selectively eliminate and/or disable senescent cells with the aim of tissue rejuvenation. We assume that this research will provide new compounds from the chemical space which act as mimetics of caloric restriction, modulators of calcium signaling and mitochondrial physiology, or as proteostasis optimizers, bearing the potential to counteract cellular senescence, thereby allowing healthy aging.