What Is Cellular Senescence?

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

 Cellular Senescence
Image Credit: Lifespan.io

“Over the past two decades, extensive research all over the world has shown that laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the body. Most noteworthy is laughter’s ability to unwind the negative effects of stress: the catalyst for many of our health problems.” Madan Kataria

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

The cells in our bodies have life cycles that undergo varying stages. Cells are born, they mature, then are re-absorbed into the body once they’ve fulfilled their lifespans. During proliferation, there can be an inhibition of the cell growth cycle that results in a resistance to growth-promoting stimuli. When the root cause of disruption of the cellular growth cycle is influenced by DNA damage, the process is known as cellular senescence. 

Initially described by Leonard Hayflick, the observation of human foetal fibroblasts was the phenomenon that led to the discovery of cellular senescence. It was noted that there was a point at which the fibroblast cells would stop dividing, yet remain viable and metabolically active in their cell cultures. While cells are not expected to keep dividing indefinitely, there is a distinct behaviour that differentiates them from other cells. They are their own unique classification. 

The characteristics of senescent cells include: 

  1. Morphological and Metabolic Changes 
  2. Chromatin Reorganisation
  3. Altered Gene Expression
  4. Adoption of a pro-inflammatory phenotype known as the  and adoption of a pro-inflammatory phenotype known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). 

The role of senescence in cells is still being understood by the medical community. Cell regeneration is one of the key components of longevity. Other biologically significant functions of senescence have been identified as being important to:

  1. Protecting cell growth mechanisms from malignant transformations of damaged cells. Organisms would inherently want damaged cell generation to be minimised in the body, and the onset of senescence is an intelligent mechanism that prevents any further progression of the abnormal cells in an otherwise healthy system. 
  2. Contribution to the onset of age-associated pathologies such as cancer, tissue degeneration and inflammatory diseases. In this latter condition, the correction of cell senescence will enable the right cells to replenish in an organism and restore normal, healthy function. 

Cellular senescence is now being studied for a better understanding of both the factors that contribute to improvement of health, and the expansion of human lifespans. Ageing is a long term degeneration of the body, while senescence is a process that occurs throughout the entire human lifespan. Not all cells are required at all phases of our existence. 

As the human body matures, the role of cell senescence becomes more prevalent in wound healing and general well-being. 

Why does senescence occur?

The body is designed for optimal living. With a mechanism in place for the prevention of the replication of cells with damaged DNA, cell senescence plays a critical role in prevention of a variety of illnesses in the body. Healthy cells are permitted to propagate, and organisms can thrive in optimal health. The human body is intelligently designed for survival via the mechanism of cellular senescence.

Reference Article:

Overview of Cellular Senescence: https://www.cellsignal.com/science-resources/overview-of-cellular-senescence

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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