The Reality of Aging Viewed from the Arterial Wall

  • Majd AlGhatrif
  • Edward G. Lakatta


The main function of central arteries is to transform the pulsatile flow generated by the heart into an almost continuous distal flow. Major changes in the arterial wall ensue with aging, and are characterized by endothelial dysfunction, smooth muscle proliferation, elastin fragmentation, fibrosis, amyloid protein deposition, and calcification. These processes are driven by a proinflammatory microenvironment that features increased production of angiotensin II (Ang II) and its downstream signaling cascade. The aforementioned structural changes result in a loss of the dampening function of central arteries, widening of pulse pressure, and subsequent adverse effects on the heart and end-organ systems, i.e. the brain and kidneys.


Arterial aging Inflammation Angiotensin Pulse wave velocity Pulse pressure 


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© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Cardiovascular Studies Unit, Laboratory of Cardiovascular ScienceNational Institute on Aging, National Institutes of HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Cardiovascular ScienceBiomedical Research CenterBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Cardiovascular ScienceIRP, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of HealthBaltimoreUSA

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