Senolytics: Potential for Alleviating Diabetes and Its Complications

Allyson K. Palmer, Tamar Tchkonia, James L. Kirkland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Therapeutics that target cellular senescence, including novel “senolytic” compounds, hold significant promise for treating or preventing obesity-induced metabolic dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, and the multiple complications of diabetes and obesity. Senolytics selectively clear senescent cells, which accumulate with aging and obesity and represent a fundamental mechanism of aging that contributes to metabolic dysfunction and diabetes pathogenesis. In addition to improving metabolic function, targeting senescent cells holds promise as a preventive strategy to reduce the incidence and severity of diabetes complications. The intermittent administration schedule used for senolytic therapy may confer benefits in terms of improving adherence and limiting adverse effects. It is necessary to design effective clinical trials that will safely translate discoveries from preclinical models into human studies that may pave the way for a novel therapeutic class for treating obesity, diabetes, and their complications. In this review, we outline what is known regarding the role of cellular senescence in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and its complications, present evidence from preclinical models that targeting cellular senescence is beneficial, review senolytic drugs, and outline the features of clinical trials investigating the role of targeting senescent cells for diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbqab058
JournalEndocrinology (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • aging
  • cellular senescence
  • diabetes complications
  • diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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