Aging Dis. 2023 Jul 16. doi: 10.14336/AD.2023.0630-1. Online ahead of print.
Aging is one of the most serious risk factors for glaucoma, and according to age-standardized prevalence, glaucoma is the second leading cause of legal blindness worldwide. Cellular senescence is a hallmark of aging that is defined by a stable exit from the cell cycle in response to cellular damage and stress. The potential mechanisms underlying glaucomatous cellular senescence include oxidative stress, DNA damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, defective autophagy/mitophagy, and epigenetic modifications. These phenotypes interact and generate a sufficiently stable network to maintain the cell senescent state. Senescent trabecular meshwork (TM) cells, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and vascular endothelial cells reportedly accumulate with age and stress and may contribute to glaucoma pathologies. Therapies targeting the suppression or elimination of senescent cells have been found to ameliorate RGC death and improve vision in glaucoma models, suggesting the pivotal role of cellular senescence in the pathophysiology of glaucoma. In this review, we explore the biological links between aging and glaucoma, specifically delving into cellular senescence. Moreover, we summarize the current data on cellular senescence in key target cells associated with the development and clinical phenotypes of glaucoma. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic potential of targeting cellular senescence for the management of glaucoma.