Understanding how an old heart gets stiff (2020–2023)
Aging is accompanied by a stiffening of the heart and reduced function, which is accelerated by cardiovascular disease and leads to heart failure. How the heart stiffens is poorly understood. A new mechanism is proposed here, involving structural membrane proteins (termed caveolae and cavins) and a signalling molecule (nitric oxide). The current research aims to unravel the interplay between cardiac cells and these proteins/signals to cause stiffness and to determine whether this process governs normal aging of the heart. This work will advance understanding of how heart function is determined and reveal how the human heart changes with normal aging.