Vascular Aging

Artery Changes and Pathologies With Aging


Aging increases the thickness of the wall of the artery, by an increase in vascular smooth muscle, and a remodeling of the vascular wall. Such proliferation is an early pathology leading to the development of  arteriosclerosis.


The functional ability of the arteries is impaired with increasing age.  

o   Decreased Vasodilation

Arteries lose the ability to relax and dilate. Many factors contribute to this including the loss of endothelium cells, the inability of the endothelium to synthesize nitric oxide for relaxation, and increasing stiffness of the vessels. due to loss of elasticity.

o   Increased Inflammatory NF-kappaB Activity

NF-kappaB stimulates an increase in inflammation, which increases oxidative stress in the endothelium, andcontributes to vascular dysfunction associated with aging.

o   Increased Vasoconstriction

Endothelin-1 (vasoconstriction protein) levels are increased in the vascular endothelium. Aging raises levels of endothelin-1, in response to increased inflammation

o   Loss of Healthy Endothelium (Arterial Lining)

With age, the endothelium cells ability to regenerate is greatly diminished, while there is increased cellular apoptosis (death) of endothelium.  The result is a shift from healthy vascular tissue to tissue which is unhealthy, taking on the characteristics of atherosclerotic tissue.






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