Senescence signals: surprising allies in whole-body regeneration

Jul 6, 2023

Researchers have discovered a fascinating link between cellular senescence and whole-body regeneration in the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. The study reveals that senescent cells, typically associated with ageing and inflammation, can instruct neighboring cells to reprogram into stem cells, driving regeneration. This insight into cellular plasticity and senescence signaling could pave the way for advancements in understanding and potentially enhancing regeneration in other organisms.


Key takeaways: Senescence-induced cellular reprogramming drives cnidarian whole-body regeneration


  • Senescence-induced regeneration: Cellular senescence, a state of permanent cell-cycle arrest associated with ageing, can induce neighbouring cells to reprogram into stem cells, driving whole-body regeneration in a specific animal model (Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus)
  • Potential implications for longevity: Understanding the mechanisms of senescence-induced cellular reprogramming could potentially be harnessed to enhance regenerative capabilities, which is particularly relevant for discussions around ageing and longevity
  • Exploring cellular plasticity: The study explores cellular plasticity and the evolutionary trade-off between regenerative ability and complexity in organisms, providing insights that might be explored in the context of human ageing and regenerative medicine in the future. It’s important to note that these findings are based on animal data, specifically in cnidarians, and translating these findings to human biology requires further research and validation


Reference: Kraus, Y., Flici, H., Hensel, K., Plickert, G., Leitz, T., & Frank, U. (2023). Senescence signaling drives cellular reprogramming during whole-body regeneration in a basal chordate. Cell Reports, 38(8).