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Elimination of p19ARF-expressing cells enhances pulmonary function in mice

Michihiro Hashimoto, … , Mitsuo Maruyama, Masataka Sugimoto

Senescent cells accumulate in many tissues as animals age and are considered to underlie several aging-associated pathologies. The tumor suppressors p19ARF and p16INK4a, both of which are encoded in the CDKN2A locus, play critical roles in inducing and maintaining permanent cell cycle arrest during cellular senescence. Although the elimination of p16INK4a-expressing cells extends the life span of the mouse, it is unclear whether tissue function is restored by the elimination of senescent cells in aged animals and whether and how p19ARF contributes to tissue aging. The aging-associated decline in lung function is characterized by an increase in compliance as well as pathogenic susceptibility to pulmonary diseases. We herein demonstrated that pulmonary function in 12-month-old mice was reversibly restored by the elimination of p19ARF-expressing cells. The ablation of p19ARF-expressing cells using a toxin receptor-mediated cell knockout system ameliorated aging-associated lung hypofunction. Furthermore, the aging-associated gene expression profile was reversed after the elimination of p19ARF. Our results indicate that the aging-associated decline in lung function was, at least partly, attributed to p19ARF and was recovered by eliminating p19ARF-expressing cells.

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