Amelioration of age-related brain function decline by Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibition

Akang E. Ekpenyong-Akiba, Marta Poblocka, Mohammad Althubiti, Miran Rada, Diana Jurk, Sandra Germano, Gabriella Kocsis-Fodor, Yu Shi, Juan J. Canales, Salvador Macip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


One of the hallmarks of aging is the progressive accumulation of senescent cells in organisms, which has been proposed to be a contributing factor to age-dependent organ dysfunction. We recently reported that Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) is an upstream component of the p53 responses to DNA damage. BTK binds to and phosphorylates p53 and MDM2, which results in increased p53 activity. Consistent with this, blocking BTK impairs p53-induced senescence. This suggests that sustained BTK inhibition could have an effect on organismal aging by reducing the presence of senescent cells in tissues. Here, we show that ibrutinib, a clinically approved covalent inhibitor of BTK, prolonged the maximum lifespan of a Zmpste24−/− progeroid mice, which also showed a reduction in general age-related fitness loss. Importantly, we found that certain brain functions were preserved, as seen by reduced anxiety-like behaviour and better long-term spatial memory. This was concomitant to a decrease in the expression of specific markers of senescence in the brain, which confirms a lower accumulation of senescent cells after BTK inhibition. Our data show that blocking BTK has a modest increase in lifespan in Zmpste24−/− mice and protects them from a decline in brain performance. This suggests that specific inhibitors could be used in humans to treat progeroid syndromes and prevent the age-related degeneration of organs such as the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13079
JournalAging Cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • BTK
  • cellular senescence
  • healthspan
  • p53
  • progeria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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