XProgrammed cell senescence during mammalian embryonic development

Daniel Muñoz-Espín, Marta Cañamero, Antonio Maraver, Gonzalo Gómez-López, Julio Contreras, Silvia Murillo-Cuesta, Alfonso Rodríguez-Baeza, Isabel Varela-Nieto, Jesús Ruberte, Manuel Collado, Manuel Serrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

846 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular senescence disables proliferation in damaged cells, and it is relevant for cancer and aging. Here, we show that senescence occurs during mammalian embryonic development at multiple locations, including the mesonephros and the endolymphatic sac of the inner ear, which we have analyzed in detail. Mechanistically, senescence in both structures is strictly dependent on p21, but independent of DNA damage, p53, or other cell-cycle inhibitors, and it is regulated by the TGF-β/SMAD and PI3K/FOXO pathways. Developmentally programmed senescence is followed by macrophage infiltration, clearance of senescent cells, and tissue remodeling. Loss of senescence due to the absence of p21 is partially compensated by apoptosis but still results in detectable developmental abnormalities. Importantly, the mesonephros and endolymphatic sac of human embryos also show evidence of senescence. We conclude that the role of developmentally programmed senescence is to promote tissue remodeling and propose that this is the evolutionary origin of damage-induced senescence. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013


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