14 Scopus citations


To understand the mechanism of aging at the cellular level, cellular senescence has been extensively studied as an experimental model of aging in vitro. Although several hypotheses have been proposed for the mechanism of cellular senescence, none of them could give a comprehensive framework to the mechanism. In this study, we showed our results of extensive computer simulation designed to identify possible molecular models of cellular senescence. By examining representative cases of various molecular models, we elucidated the requirements for the plausible mechanism of cellular senescence. Based on these simulation results, we proposed a new molecular model of cellular senescence-the two-process model. In this model, we assumed that two independent, but time-aligned regulatory processes functioned in individual cells. We defined these two processes as S- and C-processes. The S-process mainly determines the rate of decline in the proliferative potential of the cell population. The simulation results suggested that the growth-inhibitory cell-to-cell interaction was required to drive the S- process. The C-process determines the latent proliferative potential of individual cells. The effector genes for the C-process are suggested to be regulated by a certain threshold-type mechanism. Both growth kinetics and senescence-associated gene expression were generated with high accuracy by the combined effect of these two processes. We also succeeded in simulating the effects of simian virus 40 large T antigen and its inducible variant on cellular senescence. From these theoretical considerations, we discuss the validity of the two-process model and the possible involvement of the heterochromatin structure as a determinant of the replicative lifespan of cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-419
Number of pages27
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • C-process
  • Cellular senescence
  • Computer simulation
  • Growth kinetics
  • Heterochromatin
  • S-process
  • Transcription
  • Two-process model


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