Aging affects bones, cartilage, muscles, and other connective tissue in the musculoskeletal system, leading to numerous age-related pathologies including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and sarcopenia. Understanding healthy aging may therefore open new therapeutic targets, thereby leading to the development of novel approaches to prevent several age-related orthopaedic diseases. It is well recognized that aging-related stem cell depletion and dysfunction leads to reduced regenerative capacity in various musculoskeletal tissues. However, more recent evidence suggests that dysregulated autophagy and cellular senescence might be fundamental mechanisms associated with aging-related musculoskeletal decline. The mammalian/mechanical target of Rapamycin (mTOR) is known to be an essential negative regulator of autophagy, and its inhibition has been demonstrated to promote longevity in numerous species. Besides, several reports demonstrate that selective elimination of senescent cells and their cognate Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP) can mitigate musculoskeletal tissue decline. Therefore, senolytic drugs/agents that can specifically target senescent cells, may offer a novel therapeutic strategy to treat a litany of age-related orthopaedic conditions. This chapter focuses on osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, very common debilitating orthopaedic conditions, and reviews current concepts highlighting new therapeutic strategies, including the mTOR inhibitors, senolytic agents, and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based therapies.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue