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Age- and sex-dependent differences in extracellular matrix metabolism associate with cardiac functional and structural changes.

Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology (2020-01-25)
Gabriel A Grilo, Patti R Shaver, Hamilton J Stoffel, Caleb Anthony Morrow, Octavious T Johnson, Rugmani P Iyer, Lisandra E de Castro Brás

Age-related remodeling of the heart causes structural and functional changes in the left ventricle (LV) that are associated with a high index of morbidities and mortality worldwide. Some cardiac pathologies in the elderly population vary between genders revealing that cardiac remodeling during aging may be sex-dependent. Herein, we analyzed the effects of cardiac aging in male and female C57Bl/6 mice in four age groups, 3, 6, 12, and 18 month old (n = 6-12 animals/sex/age), to elucidate which age-related characteristics of LV remodeling are sex-specific. We focused particularly in parameters associated with age-dependent remodeling of the LV extracellular matrix (ECM) that are involved in collagen metabolism. LV function and anatomical structure were assessed both by conventional echocardiography and speckle tracking echocardiography (STE). We then measured ECM proteins that directly affect LV contractility and remodeling. All data were analyzed across ages and between sexes and were directly linked to LV functional changes. Echocardiography confirmed an age-dependent decrease in chamber volumes and LV internal diameters, indicative of concentric remodeling. As in humans, animals displayed preserved ejection fraction with age. Notably, changes to chamber dimensions and volumes were temporally distinct between sexes. Complementary to the traditional echocardiography, STE revealed that circumferential strain rate declined in 18 month old females, compared to younger animals, but not in males, suggesting STE as an earlier indicator for changes in cardiac function between sexes. Age-dependent collagen deposition and expression in the endocardium did not differ between sexes; however, other factors involved in collagen metabolism were sex-specific. Specifically, while decorin, osteopontin, Cthrc1, and Ddr1 expression were age-dependent but sex-independent, periostin, lysyl oxidase, and Mrc2 displayed age-dependent and sex-specific differences. Moreover, our data also suggest that with age males and females have distinct TGFβ signaling pathways. Overall, our results give evidence of sex-specific molecular changes during physiological cardiac remodeling that associate with age-dependent structural and functional dysfunction. These data highlight the importance of including sex-differences analysis when studying cardiac aging.

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Protein Extraction Reagent Type 4