Senescence is an aging process in which a cell permanently stops dividing yet does not die. This occurs when the cell experiences various stressors that lead to the accumulation of damaged DNA. Entering into senescence mode prevents further damage by halting reproduction.
While not fully dormant, senescent cells can accumulate in different organs and tissues due to aging or other health concerns like obesity and metabolic diseases. These cells lead to dysfunction and give rise to inflammation-inducing cytokines, chemokines, and proteases known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).
Through senescence, aging and age-related diseases occur. This same process causes other cells to age well; these may eventually develop into cancer due to their damaged DNA. Over time, the accumulation of senescent cells can create a domino effect throughout our bodies – leading us closer to illness or disease like cancer.