Endothelial cell senescence and inflammaging: MicroRNAs as biomarkers and innovative therapeutic tools

Francesco Prattichizzo, Massimiliano Bonafè, Artan Ceka, Angelica Giuliani, Maria Rita Rippo, Massimo Re, Roberto Antonicelli, Antonio Domenico Procopio, Fabiola Olivieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is accompanied by a progressive decline of endothelial function and a progressive drift toward a systemic pro-inflammatory status that has been designated “inflammaging”. Both phenomena are accelerated and exacerbated in patients with the most common age-related diseases (ARDs), including cancer. The finding that chronic cell stress activates a pro-inflammatory program leading to acquisition of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) and to the propagation of senescence to surrounding cells through the secretome, suggests that cell senescence may have a role in both processes. Here we: i) describe the role of cell senescence in endothelial dysfunction, ii) emphasize the contribution of the endothelial cell SASP to inflammaging, and iii) suggest that selective removal of senescent endothelial cells may not only hinder such harmful processes, but also reduce the risk of developing ARDs and their complications. Although in vivo detection and targeting of senescent endothelial cells are still being investigated, it is likely that therapeutic strategies based on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds would involve generalized anti-aging effects also benefiting endothelial cells. MicroRNA (miRNAs) - single-stranded, non-coding RNAs expressed by all living cells and involved in the epigenetic modulation of all transcriptional programs - may constitute an innovative, valuable tool to detect and target senescent endothelial cells and to devise treatments that can slow down the pro-inflammatory program activated in senescent endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-397
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Drug Targets
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Cancer
  • Cell senescence
  • Endothelial cells
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Inflammaging
  • MicroRNA
  • miR-126-3p
  • NFkB
  • Senescence
  • Senolytic compound
  • T2DM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine

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