Cellular senescence is increased in airway smooth muscle cells of elderly persons with asthma

Arbi Aghali, Latifa Khalfaoui, Anthony B. Lagnado, Li Y. Drake, Jacob J. Teske, Christina M. Pabelick, João F. Passos, Y. S. Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Senescent cells can drive age-related tissue dysfunction partially via a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) involving proinflammatory and profibrotic factors. Cellular senescence has been associated with a structural and functional decline during normal lung aging and age-related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Asthma in the elderly (AIE) represents a major healthcare burden. AIE is associated with bronchial airway hyperresponsiveness and remodeling, which involves increased cell proliferation and higher rates of fibrosis, and resistant to standard therapy. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells play a major role in asthma such as remodeling via modulation of inflammation and the extracellular matrix (ECM) environment. Whether senescent ASM cells accumulate in AIE and contribute to airway structural or functional changes is unknown. Lung tissues from elderly persons with asthma showed greater airway fibrosis compared with age-matched elderly persons with nonasthma and young age controls. Lung tissue or isolated ASM cells from elderly persons with asthma showed increased expression of multiple senescent markers including phospho-p53, p21, telomere-associated foci (TAF), as well as multiple SASP components. Senescence and SASP components were also increased with aging per se. These data highlight the presence of cellular senescence in AIE that may contribute to airway remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L558-L568
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • aging
  • airway remodeling
  • asthma
  • fibrosis
  • senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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