The cellular mechanobiology of aging: from biology to mechanics

Apratim Bajpai, Rui Li, Weiqiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aging is a chronic, complicated process that leads to degenerative physical and biological changes in living organisms. Aging is associated with permanent, gradual physiological cellular decay that affects all aspects of cellular mechanobiological features, including cellular cytoskeleton structures, mechanosensitive signaling pathways, and forces in the cell, as well as the cell's ability to sense and adapt to extracellular biomechanical signals in the tissue environment through mechanotransduction. These mechanobiological changes in cells are directly or indirectly responsible for dysfunctions and diseases in various organ systems, including the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, skin, and immune systems. This review critically examines the role of aging in the progressive decline of the mechanobiology occurring in cells, and establishes mechanistic frameworks to understand the mechanobiological effects of aging on disease progression and to develop new strategies for halting and reversing the aging process. Our review also highlights the recent development of novel bioengineering approaches for studying the key mechanobiological mechanisms in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • aging
  • cytoskeleton
  • force
  • mechanobiology
  • mechanotransduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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