Knowledge of the biology of cellular senescence has improved markedly in recent years, helping us to understand the aging process. It is now clear that cellular senescence is involved in the pathogenesis of many age-related diseases, including respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD occupies a special place among chronic respiratory diseases because of its frequency and socio-economic impact. The high morbidity and mortality associated with COPD are related to multiple systemic manifestations independent of the severity of airway obstruction. COPD, although most often due to smoking, is also an aging-related respiratory disease. According to a newly developed concept, lung-cell senescence could play a key role in the pathophysiology of COPD, including remodeling of blood vessels and lung parenchyma, as well as the characteristic inflammatory process. Systemic manifestations of COPD, including cardiovascular disease, weight loss, bone demineralization and muscle dysfunction, may reflect a general process of premature aging secondary to the pulmonary changes.