Emerging evidence has pointed to the noxious effects of senescent cells in various tissues, and senescent cells in the epidermis are known to accumulate with age. We hypothesized that there is a mechanism by which senescent cells in the epidermis are preferentially removed and that the function of such removal mechanism declines as age increases. In this study, we investigated whether Notch signalling is involved in such senescent cell removal. We found that Notch1 receptor was expressed more highly in p16INK4a-positive senescent cells than in surrounding cells in human epidermis both in young and old subjects. On the other hand, the expression of its ligand JAG1 was decreased in the epidermis of aged subjects. When normal epidermal cells and UVB-irradiated senescent cells were mixed and three-dimensional reconstructed epidermis was developed in vitro, the senescent cells were preferentially removed from the basal layer and located in the upper layer. We also found that the depletion of senescent cells from the basal layer was suppressed by JAG1 knockdown in normal cells or using a Notch signalling inhibitor. From these results, Notch signalling may be involved in senescent cell removal in the epidermis and the age-related decrease of JAG1 expression in the basal layer may lead to accumulation of senescent cells owing to reduced activation of Notch signalling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes