It is estimated that the elderly (> 65 years of age) will increase from 13%-14% to 25% by 2035. If this trend continues, > 50% of the United States population and more than two billion people worldwide will be "aged" in the next 50 years. Aged individuals face formidable challenges to their health, as aging is associated with a myriad of diseases. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States with > 50% of mortality attributed to coronary artery disease and > 80% of these deaths occurring in those age 65 and older. Therefore, age is an important predictor of cardiovascular disease. The efficiency of youth is built upon cellular signaling scaffolds that provide tight and coordinated signaling. Lipid rafts are one such scaffold of which caveolae are a subset. In this review, we consider the importance of caveolae in common cardiovascular diseases of the aged and as potential therapeutic targets. We specifically address the role of caveolin in heart failure, myocardial ischemia, and pulmonary hypertension.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Caveolin; Lipid rafts; The aged.