Little is known on how well senescence markers in vitro and in situ correlate within individual donors. We studied correlations between the same and different in vitro markers. Furthermore, we tested correlations between in vitro markers with in situ p16INK4a positivity.

From 100 donors (20-91 years), cultured dermal fibroblasts were assessed for reactive oxygen species (ROS), telomere-associated foci (TAF), p16INK4a and senescence-associated β-gal (SAβ-gal), with/ without 0.6 µM rotenone for 3 days (short-term). In fibroblasts from 40 donors, telomere shortening, ROS and SAβ-gal were additionally assessed, with/ without 20 nM rotenone for 7 weeks (long-term). In skin from 52 donors, the number of p16INK4a positive dermal cells was assessed in situ.

More than half of the correlations of the same senescence markers in vitro between duplicate experiments and between short-term versus long-term experiments were significant. Half of the different senescence marker correlations were significant within the short-term and within the long-term experiments. The different senescence markers in vitro were not significantly correlated intra-individually with in situ p16INK4a positivity.
In conclusion, the same and different senescence markers are frequently correlated significantly within and between in vitro experiments, but in vitro senescence markers are not correlated with p16INK4a positivity in situ.