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Circ Res. 2012 Apr 13;110(8):1097-108. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.246876.

The intersection between aging and cardiovascular disease.

Author information

1
Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. brian_north@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

The average lifespan of humans is increasing, and with it the percentage of people entering the 65 and older age group is growing rapidly and will continue to do so in the next 20 years. Within this age group, cardiovascular disease will remain the leading cause of death, and the cost associated with treatment will continue to increase. Aging is an inevitable part of life and unfortunately poses the largest risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although numerous studies in the cardiovascular field have considered both young and aged humans, there are still many unanswered questions as to how the genetic pathways that regulate aging in model organisms influence cardiovascular aging. Likewise, in the molecular biology of aging field, few studies fully assess the role of these aging pathways in cardiovascular health. Fortunately, this gap is beginning to close, and these two fields are merging together. We provide an overview of some of the key genes involved in regulating lifespan and health span, including sirtuins, AMP-activated protein kinase, mammalian target of rapamycin, and insulin-like growth factor 1 and their roles regulating cardiovascular health. We then discuss a series of review articles that will appear in succession and provide a more comprehensive analysis of studies carried out linking genes of aging and cardiovascular health, and perspectives of future directions of these two intimately linked fields.

PMID:
22499900
PMCID:
PMC3366686
DOI:
10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.246876
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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