Rising numbers of senescent cells are one of the root causes of aging, a process that arises from the normal operation of youthful metabolism, yet results in accumulated damage and failure over time. Senescent cells generate signaling that degrades tissue function, breaks down and remodels tissue structure, spurs chronic inflammation, and alters the behavior of surrounding cells for the worse. Evidence shows their presence to be a contributing cause of a range of common fatal age-related conditions. In a youthful body, near all cells that become senescent and fail to self-destruct as a result are promptly eliminated by the immune system. In an aged body, the immune system is worn and degraded; as a consequence many more senescent cells survive to linger. We are machines of interacting, dependent parts. Damage and failure in one component speeds the onset of damage and decline in others. The age-related failure of the immune system is an important part of the acceleration of functional decline in later life.
Much of the current work on methods to selectively destroy senescent cells, and thus produce a narrow form of rejuvenation, is focused on pharmaceuticals.
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