Role of circulating factors in cardiac aging
Worldwide increase in life expectancy is a major contributor to the epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases. Aging, indeed, simultaneously affects multiple organ systems, and it has been hypothesized that systemic alterations in regulators of tissue physiology may regulate this process. Cardiac aging itself is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and, because of the intimate relationship with the brain, may contribute to increase the risk of neurodegenerative disorders. Blood-borne factors may play a major role in this complex and still elusive process. A number of studies, mainly based on the revival of parabiosis, a surgical technique very popular during the 70s of the 20th century to study the effect of a shared circulation in two animals, have indeed shown the potential that humoral factors can control the aging process in different tissues. In this article we review the role of circulating factors in cardiovascular aging. A better understanding of these mechanisms may provide new insights in the aging process and provide novel therapeutic opportunities for chronic age-related disorders.