Advanced age is an independent risk factor for ageing-related complex diseases, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and hypertension, which are common but life threatening and related to the ageing-associated vascular dysfunction. On the other hand, patients with progeria syndromes suffer from serious atherosclerosis, suggesting that the impaired vascular functions may be critical to organismal ageing, or vice versa. However, it remains largely unknown how vascular cells, particularly endothelial cell, become senescent and how the senescence impairs the vascular functions and contributes to the age-related vascular diseases over time. Here, we review the recent progress on the characteristics of vascular ageing and endothelial cell senescence in vitro and in vivo, evaluate how genetic and environmental factors as well as autophagy and stem cell influence endothelial cell senescence and how the senescence contributes to the age-related vascular phenotypes, such as atherosclerosis and increased vascular stiffness, and explore the possibility whether we can delay the age-related vascular diseases through the control of vascular ageing.
Keywords: Age-related diseases; Endothelial cell senescence; Genetic; Stem cell; Vascular ageing.
Copyright © 2014 Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Genetics Society of China. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.