Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) appears to be significantly driven by the presence of senescent cells in the lungs. Other forms of fibrosis in other organs have been similarly linked to senescent cells. Increased cellular senescence is a feature of aging, and indeed is one of the root causes of aging. These cells secrete a potent mix of signals that induce inflammation, damage tissue structures, and change the behavior of nearby cells for the worse. In this context the results presented here are intriguing; the authors of this open access paper find that IPF patients have more senescent bone marrow stem cells.
There are a few ways to think about this. The first is that aging is a global phenomenon of accumulating molecular damage throughout the body, and people with enough damage to be predisposed to clinical levels of lung fibrosis are going to exhibit more pronounced measures of aging everywhere else as well. The second is that stem cells are negatively affected by high levels of inflammation, inflammatory signaling can spread widely by following the circulatory system, and the
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