Spatial mapping of cellular senescence: emerging challenges and opportunities.

Document Type


Publication Date



JGM, United States, Humans, Animals, Mice, Cellular Senescence, Aging, Longevity

JAX Source

Nat Aging. 2023;3(7):776-90.







This research was supported by the NIH Common Fund, through the Office of Strategic Coordination and the Office of the NIH Director under awards UG3CA268103 (J.F.P., A.B.L., S.V., D.J.), U54AG075931 (A.U.G., A.L.M., D.B., H.C., J.K.A., M.B., M. Königshoff., O.E., Q.H., T.K.), UG3CA268202 (N.N.), U54AG075941 (J.H.C.), UG3CA268091 (J.H.L.), UG3CA268096 (R.D., X.F.), U54AG075931 (Z.B.-J.), U24CA268108 (Z.B.-J.), U54AG076041 (L.J.N., A.C.N., E.L.T., S.P., F.R., G.B.), U54AG075936 (A.R.Z., Z.J.), U54AG079758 (P.D.A., Q.Z., R.A.P.), U54AG076040 (H.P., J.P.), U54 AG075932 (D.F., A.A.G., C.B., F.W., I.H.), UG3CA268112 (V.S., M. Kumar.).


Cellular senescence is a well-established driver of aging and age-related diseases. There are many challenges to mapping senescent cells in tissues such as the absence of specific markers and their relatively low abundance and vast heterogeneity. Single-cell technologies have allowed unprecedented characterization of senescence; however, many methodologies fail to provide spatial insights. The spatial component is essential, as senescent cells communicate with neighboring cells, impacting their function and the composition of extracellular space. The Cellular Senescence Network (SenNet), a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund initiative, aims to map senescent cells across the lifespan of humans and mice. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the existing and emerging methodologies for spatial imaging and their application toward mapping senescent cells. Moreover, we discuss the limitations and challenges inherent to each technology. We argue that the development of spatially resolved methods is essential toward the goal of attaining an atlas of senescent cells.