Cancer survivors suffer from progressive frailty, multimorbidity, and premature morbidity. We hypothesise that therapy-induced senescence and senescence progression via bystander effects are significant causes of this premature ageing phenotype. Accordingly, the study addresses the question whether a short anti-senescence intervention is able to block progression of radiation-induced frailty and disability in a pre-clinical setting. Male mice were sublethally irradiated at 5 months of age and treated (or not) with either a senolytic drug (Navitoclax or dasatinib + quer-cetin) for 10 days or with the senostatic metformin for 10 weeks. Follow-up was for 1 year. Treat-ments commencing within a month after irradiation effectively reduced frailty progression (p<0.05) and improved muscle (p<0.01) and liver (p<0.05) function as well as short-term memory (p<0.05) until advanced age with no need for repeated interventions. Senolytic interventions that started late, after radiation-induced premature frailty was manifest, still had beneficial effects on frailty (p<0.05) and short-term memory (p<0.05). Metformin was similarly effective as senolytics. At therapeutically achievable concentrations, metformin acted as a senostatic neither via inhibition of mitochondrial complex I, nor via improvement of mitophagy or mitochondrial function, but by reducing non-mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production via NADPH oxidase 4 inhibition in senescent cells. Our study suggests that the progression of adverse long-term health and quality-of-life effects of radiation exposure, as experienced by cancer survivors, might be rescued by short-term adjuvant anti-senescence interventions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology