Is exercise a senolytic medicine? A systematic review

Xiang Ke Chen, Zhen Ni Yi, Gordon Tin Chun Wong, Kazi Md Mahmudul Hasan, Joseph Shiu Kwong Kwan, Alvin Chun Hang Ma, Raymond Chuen Chung Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular senescence, a state of irreversible growth arrest triggered by various stressors, engages in a category of pathological processes, whereby senescent cells accumulate in mitotic tissues. Senolytics as novel medicine against aging and various diseases through the elimination of senescent cells has emerged rapidly in recent years. Exercise is a potent anti-aging and anti-chronic disease medicine, which has shown the capacity to lower the markers of cellular senescence over the past decade. However, whether exercise is a senolytic medicine for aging and various diseases remains unclear. Here, we have conducted a systematic review of the published literature studying the senolytic effects of exercise or physical activity on senescent cells under various states in both human and animal models. Exercise can reduce the markers of senescent cells in healthy humans, while it lowered the markers of senescent cells in obese but not healthy animals. The discrepancy between human and animal studies may be due to the relatively small volume of research and the variations in markers of senescent cells, types of cells/tissues, and health conditions. These findings suggest that exercise has senolytic properties under certain conditions, which warrant further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13294
JournalAging Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • cellular senescence
  • exercise
  • senescent cells
  • senolytic medicine
  • senolytics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology

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