Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is caused in part by age-related cardiac structural dysfunction.
In a study from the University of California San Diego, scientists found more information about how hearts age and the discovery sheds light on a possible pathway to slow cardiac aging.
They showed that Lamin C, a protein responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of heart cells’ nuclei, declines as flies age.
They found that Lamin decline is responsible for age-induced structural remodeling in fruit fly hearts, and it could be a potential target to slow down, or even help reverse, cardiac aging in humans.
In the study, the team used a microdissection technique on the flies’ hearts. The hearts were then preserved and examined with immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy.
The team then quantified this change by segmenting and measuring nuclear stiffness with atomic force microscopy.
This is when they discovered that cardiomyocyte nuclei stiffen during natural aging; after running a genetic analysis, the researchers found that the expression of nuclear lamins decreases as flies age.
The team was able to verify that these results also applied to mice and primates, thanks to collaborators at the National Institute on Aging.
This indicates that a role for Lamins may apply to human heart aging as well, which could have tremendous therapeutic value, as targeting lamin-stimulating pathways could potentially help avoid this cardiac aging-related mechanical change.
The team says they found a role for cardiac transcription factors in regulating adult heart contractility and show that maintenance of Lamin C, and cardiac transcription factor expression, prevents age-dependent cardiac decline.
The findings are conserved in aged non-human primates and mice, demonstrating that age-dependent nuclear remodeling is a major mechanism contributing to cardiac dysfunction.
Future research will explore why lamins are lost with age, and how maintaining certain cardiac gene expressions can improve heart function and lifespan.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and Vitamin C is linked to a lower risk of heart failure.
The study was conducted by Professor Adam Engler et al and published in Nature Aging.
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