In Alzheimer’s disease, tau tangles correlate closely with neurodegeneration, but how they work their mischief remains unclear. Two papers now link tau to the buildup of senescent cells in the brain. These aged, sick cells can neither divide nor undergo programmed cell death. Instead, they can stick around for years, and scientists believe they contribute to many chronic diseases of aging. In the September 19 Nature, researchers led by Darren Baker at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, reported that eliminating senescent cells as they formed prevented later neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in a mouse model of tauopathy. Meanwhile, researchers led by Miranda Orr at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, found that destroying senescent cells in mice at advanced stages of tauopathy slowed neurodegeneration and corrected aberrant brain blood flow. That work appeared in the August 20 Aging Cell.
Are Tauopathies Caused by Neuronal and Glial Senescence?
In Alzheimer’s disease, tau tangles correlate closely with neurodegeneration, but how they work their mischief remains unclear.