In most tissues, with the notable exception of neural tissue, healthy cells are replicating cells, which are capable of mobilizing at least 20 enzymes and proteins that must be preassembled to initiate DNA synthesis for cell division. An irreversible state of growth arrest known as replicative senescence is the fundamental basis of cellular aging. Such senescent cells remain viable and metabolically active, but their genomic function and protein expression are distinct from that of normal, proliferating cells. Iron accumulates in senescent cells, possibly contributing to the greater oxidative stress and cellular dysfunction seen in senescent cells. Senescent cells also express proinflammatory enzymes, an internal process that could possibly contribute to the aging process; intercellular adhesion molecules, which are part of the inflammatory response, are overex-pressed in association with senescent cells and aging tissue.
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