Gene Expression Signatures of Human Senescent Corneal and Conjunctival Epithelial Cells | Aging-US



September 30, 2023

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  • Aging-US published this priority research paper as the cover for Volume 15, Issue 18, entitled, "Gene expression signatures of human senescent corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells" by researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA; Department of Ophthalmology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto 6020841, Japan; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA. DOI - Corresponding authors - Koji Kitazawa -, and Judith Campisi - Abstract Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the senescent phenotypes of human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. Methods: We examined cell morphology, senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity, cell proliferation, and expression of senescence markers (p16 and p21). RNA sequencing analysis was conducted to compare gene expression profiles between senescent and non-senescent cells. Finally, the potential involvement of senescent cells in the pathogenesis of ocular surface diseases was investigated. Results: X-irradiated corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells exhibited typical senescence phenotypes, i.e., flattened morphologies, increased SA-β-gal activity, decreased cell proliferation, and increased expression of senescence markers, p16 and p21. RNA-seq analysis revealed substantial differences in gene expression profiles between senescent corneal (SCo) and conjunctival epithelial cells (SCj). Moreover, SCj were detected in pathological conjunctival tissues associated with limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) due to Stevens-Johnson syndrome or chemical burns, potentially being involved in abnormal differentiation. Conclusion: This study highlights the cellular and molecular characteristics of senescent ocular surface cells, particularly in SCj that show abnormal keratin expression, and their potential roles in severe ocular surface diseases and pathology. Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article - Subscribe for free publication alerts from Aging - Keywords - aging, cellular senescence, cornea, conjunctiva, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, limbal stem cell deficiency About Aging-US Launched in 2009, Aging-US publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging-US go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways. Please visit our website at​​ and connect with us: SoundCloud - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn - Pinterest - Media Contact 18009220957 MEDIA@IMPACTJOURNALS.COM

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