Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have made new discoveries that shed new light on the mystery of why human tissues, such as skin, age. The findings focus on the composition and assembly of key chromosomal protein complexes involved in shutting down reproduction of aging cells. The report by molecular and cell biologist Peter D. Adams, Ph.D. and his colleagues appears in the January 2005 issue of Developmental Cell.
"In the lab, aging cells are called senescent cells. Senescent cells are no longer able to divide but remain metabolically active," Adams explained. "Accumulation of senescent cells over time appears to contribute to changes in tissue form and function commonly associated with aging, like the skin changes that occur between childhood and old age."
Most normal human cells undergo a limited number of cell divisions but are eventually arrested, either through final differentiation or senescence. Differentiation is the process whereby a proliferating cell stops growing and develops into a cell with a specific function, such as a liver cell or a neuron. Senescence is an irreversible stage in a cells life cycle and may underlie the human aging process and have an impact on diseases of aging, such as adult cancers.
Karen C. Mallet | EurekAlert!
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