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Age-related divergent remodeling of the cardiac extracellular matrix in heart failure: Collagen accumulation in the young and loss in the aged.

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Medicine


The incidence of heart failure (HF) increases with age. This study sought to determine whether aging exacerbates structural and functional remodeling of the myocardium in HF. HF was induced in young (~18months) and aged sheep (>8years) by right ventricular tachypacing. In non-paced animals, aging was associated with increased left ventricular (LV) end diastolic internal dimensions (EDID, P<0.001), reduced fractional shortening (P<0.01) and an increase in myocardial collagen content (P<0.01). HF increased EDID and reduced fractional shortening in both young and aged animals, although these changes were more pronounced in the aged (P<0.05). Age-associated differences in cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling occurred in HF with collagen accumulation in young HF (P<0.001) and depletion in aged HF (P<0.05). MMP-2 activity increased in the aged control and young HF groups (P<0.05). Reduced tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) expression (TIMPs 3 and 4, P<0.05) was present only in the aged HF group. Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) was increased in aged hearts compared to young controls (P<0.05) while serum procollagen type I C-pro peptide (PICP) was increased in both young failing (P<0.05) and aged failing (P<0.01) animals. In conclusion, collagen content of the cardiac ECM changes in both aging and HF although; whether collagen accumulation or depletion occurs depends on age. Changes in TIMP expression in aged failing hearts alongside augmented collagen synthesis in HF provide a potential mechanism for the age-dependent ECM remodeling. Aging should therefore be considered an important factor when elucidating cardiac disease mechanisms.

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