Indication of activated senescence pathways in the temporal arteries of patients with giant cell arteritis

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OBJECTIVES: Giant cell arteritis (GCA) affects almost exclusively individuals above 50 years old, suggesting a role of aging-related changes such as cellular senescence in its pathobiology. p21 WAF1/CIP1 and p16/INK4A play key roles in two distinct pathways leading to senescence. The proinflammatory molecules Interleukin (IL)-6 and Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF), which are key components of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), are effective targets of treatment in GCA. Here, we aim to investigate the presence of p21 and p16 positive cells producing these SASP cytokines in temporal artery biopsies (TABs) of patients with GCA.

METHODS: Eight patients with GCA and 14 age-matched, non-GCA individuals who underwent a TAB were included. Immunohistochemical staining of p21, p16, IL-6 and GM-CSF was performed. Multiplex immunofluorescent staining was performed to investigate the colocalization of p21 and p16 with IL-6, GM-CSF, and immune cell markers (CD68, CD3, CD20).

RESULTS: p16, p21, IL-6 and GM-CSF were elevated in the TABs of patients with GCA. Both p16 and p21 expressing cells were mainly found near the internal lamina elastica, especially among giant cells and macrophages, although p21 and p16 expression could be found in all three layers of the vessels. Expression of p16 and p21 was occasionally found in T cells but not B cells. p16+ and p21+ cells expressing GM-CSF/IL-6 were detected throughout the TABs.

CONCLUSION: Our data suggests the presence of activated senescence pathways at the site of vascular inflammation in GCA and support further research into the role of senescence in the pathophysiology of GCA. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1812-1818
Number of pages7
JournalArthritis & Rheumatology
Issue number10
Early online date14-Apr-2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2023


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