Cellular senescence is a state of cell cycle arrest induced by repetitive cell mitoses or different stresses, which is implicated in various physiological or pathological processes. The beneficial or adverse effects of senescent cells depend on their transitory or persistent state. Transient senescence has major beneficial roles promoting successful post-injury repair and inhibiting malignant transformation. On the other hand, persistent accumulation of senescent cells has been associated with chronic diseases and age-related illnesses like renal/urinary tract disorders. The deleterious effects of persistent senescent cells have been related, in part, to their senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) characterized by the release of a variety of factors responsible for chronic inflammation, extracellular matrix adverse remodeling, and fibrosis. Recently, an increase in senescent cell burden has been reported in renal, prostate, and bladder disorders. In this review, we will summarize the molecular mechanisms of senescence and their implication in renal and urinary tract diseases. We will also discuss the differential impacts of transient versus persistent status of cellular senescence, as well as the therapeutic potential of senescent cell targeting in these diseases.
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