Periodontal disease and senescent cells: New players for an old oral health problem?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The recent identification of senescent cells in periodontal tissues has the potential to provide new insights into the underlying mechanisms of periodontal disease etiology. DNA damage-driven senescence is perhaps one of the most underappreciated delayed consequences of persistent Gram-negative bacterial infection and inflammation. Although the host immune response rapidly protects against bacterial invasion, oxidative stress generated during inflammation can indirectly deteriorate periodontal tissues through the damage to vital cell macromolecules, including DNA. What happens to those healthy cells that reside in this harmful environment? Emerging evidence indicates that cells that survive irreparable genomic damage undergo cellular senescence, a crucial intermediate mechanism connecting DNA damage and the immune response. In this review, we hypothesize that sustained Gram-negative bacterial challenge, chronic inflammation itself, and the constant renewal of damaged tissues create a permissive environment for the abnormal accumulation of senescent cells. Based on emerging data we propose a model in which the dysfunctional presence of senescent cells may aggravate the initial immune reaction against pathogens. Further understanding of the role of senescent cells in periodontal disease pathogenesis may have clinical implications by providing more sophisticated therapeutic strategies to combat tissue destruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7441
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Bacterial infection
  • Cellular senescence
  • DNA damage
  • Immune response
  • Inflammation
  • Molecular mechanism
  • Pathogenesis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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