Older organs represent an untapped potential to close the gap between demand and supply in organ transplantation but are associated with age-specific responses to injury and increased immunogenicity, thereby aggravating transplant outcomes. Here we show that cell-free mitochondrial DNA (cf-mt-DNA) released by senescent cells accumulates with aging and augments immunogenicity. Ischemia reperfusion injury induces a systemic increase of cf-mt-DNA that promotes dendritic cell-mediated, age-specific inflammatory responses. Comparable events are observed clinically, with the levels of cf-mt-DNA elevated in older deceased organ donors, and with the isolated cf-mt-DNA capable of activating human dendritic cells. In experimental models, treatment of old donor animals with senolytics clear senescent cells and diminish cf-mt-DNA release, thereby dampening age-specific immune responses and prolonging the survival of old cardiac allografts comparable to young donor organs. Collectively, we identify accumulating cf-mt-DNA as a key factor in inflamm-aging and present senolytics as a potential approach to improve transplant outcomes and availability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)