Induction of Cellular Senescence in Rat Vaginal Fibroblasts and Treatment With Senolytics: An in Vitro Model for the Study of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Maria E. Florian-Rodriguez, Adam M. Hare, Neha G. Gaddam, Haolin Shi, Patrick Keller, Ruth Ann Word

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective The objective of this study was to develop an in vitro model of cellular senescence using rat vaginal fibroblasts and determine the effects of treatment with senolytics. Methods Rat vaginal tissue biopsies were collected. Primary vaginal fibroblasts were isolated and characterized by immunofluorescence. To induce cellular senescence, fibroblasts were treated with etoposide at 3, 10, and 20 mM for 24 hours, followed by treatment with the senolytics dasatinib (1 mM) and/or quercetin (20 mM). After treatment, RNA was extracted and the expression of selected genes was quantified. Immunostaining of senescence markers was also performed. Results Fibroblasts were confirmed by positive immunostaining for α-smooth muscle actin and vimentin, and negative immunostaining for pan-cytokeratin. Treatment with etoposide resulted in a dose-dependent increase in expression of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype markers MMP-7, MMP-9, and IL-b1 (P < 0.05) compared with controls. Immunostaining showed increased expression of γ-H2A and p21 after treatment with etoposide. Cells treated with dasatinib and quercetin after etoposide treatment had decreased expression of p21, MMP-7, MMP-9, and IL-1b compared with cells treated only with etoposide (P < 0.05). Conclusions Upregulation of senescence-associated factors provided evidence that senescence can be induced in vaginal fibroblasts in vitro. Furthermore, treatment with the senolytics dasatinib and quercetin abrogated the senescence phenotype induced by etoposide in rat vaginal fibroblasts. Our findings provide a novel model for the study and development of new therapies targeting the disordered extracellular matrix associated with pelvic organ prolapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Cellular senescence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Senolytics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Surgery


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