Cellular senescence is a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest associated with ageing. Senescence of different cardiac cell types can direct the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and cardiac fibrosis. While age-related telomere shortening represents a major cause of replicative senescence, the senescent state can also be induced by oxidative stress, metabolic dysfunction, and epigenetic regulation, among other stressors. It is critical that we understand the molecular pathways that lead to cellular senescence and the consequences of cellular senescence in order to develop new therapeutic approaches to treat CVD. In this review, we discuss molecular mechanisms of cellular senescence, explore how cellular senescence of different cardiac cell types (including cardiomyocytes, cardiac endothelial cells, cardiac fibroblasts, vascular smooth muscle cells, and valve interstitial cells) can lead to CVD, and highlight potential therapeutic approaches that target molecular mechanisms of cellular senescence to prevent or treat CVD.
Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author(s) 2021. For permissions, please email:

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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