Nitric oxide and endothelial cellular senescence

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Cellular senescence is characterized by permanent exit from the cell cycle and the appearance of distinct morphological and functional changes associated with an impairment of cellular homeostasis. Many studies support the occurrence of vascular endothelial cell senescence in vivo, and the senescent phenotype of endothelial cells can be transformed from anti-atherosclerotic to pro-atherosclerotic. Thus, endothelial cell senescence promotes endothelial dysfunction and may contribute to the pathogenesis of age-associated vascular disorders. Emerging evidence suggests that increasing nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability or endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity activates telomerase and delays endothelial cell senescence. In this review, we discuss the potential mechanisms underlying the ability of NO to prevent endothelial cell senescence and describe the possible changes in the NO-mediated anti-senescence effect under pathophysiological conditions, including oxidative stress and hyperglycemia. Further understanding of the mechanisms underlying the anti-senescence effect of NO in endothelial cells will provide insights into the potential of eNOS-based anti-senescence therapy for age-associated vascular disorders.

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