Age-related changes in cardiac homeostasis can be observed at the cellular, extracellular, and tissue levels. Progressive cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, inflammation, and the gradual development of cardiac fibrosis are hallmarks of cardiac aging. In the absence of a secondary insult such as hypertension, these changes are subtle and result in slight to moderate impaired myocardial function, particularly diastolic function. While collagen deposition and cross-linking increase during aging, extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation capacity also increases due to increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Of the MMPs elevated with cardiac aging, MMP-9 has been extensively evaluated and its roles are reviewed here. In addition to proteolytic activity on ECM components, MMPs oversee cell signaling during the aging process by modulating cytokine, chemokine, growth factor, hormone, and angiogenic factor expression and activity. In association with elevated MMP-9, macrophage numbers increase in an age-dependent manner to regulate the ECM and angiogenic responses. Understanding the complexity of the molecular interactions between MMPs and the ECM in the context of aging may provide novel diagnostic indicators for the early detection of age-related fibrosis and cardiac dysfunction.
- Cardiac aging
- Matrix metalloproteinases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine