© 2014 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Human and other multicellular life species age, and ageing processes become dominant during the late phase of life. Recent studies challenge this dogma, suggesting that ageing does not occur in some animal species. In mammals, cell replicative senescence occurs as early as before birth (i.e. in embryos) under physiological conditions. How the molecular machinery operates and why ageing cells dominate under some circumstances are intriguing questions. Recent studies show that cell ageing involves extensive cellular remodelling, including telomere attrition, heterochromatin formation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial disorders and lysosome processing organelles and chromatins. This article provides an update on the molecular mechanisms underlying the ageing of various cell types, the newly described developmental and programmed replicative senescence and the critical roles of cellular organelles and effectors in Parkinson's disease, diabetes, hypertension and dyskeratosis congenita.