Structural proteins and arterial ageing

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    In common with most dynamic tissues, the mechanical properties of arteries are determined by the relative composition and architecture of key structural extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including fibrillar collagens and elastic fibre components. Although it is apparent that age-related loss of ECM homeostasis leads to arteriosclerosis (vascular stiffening), which in turn is associated with the development of both fatal strokes and heart failure, the principal molecular targets and causative mechanisms remain poorly defined. This review discusses: (i) the application of in situ micro-mechanical methodologies to localise the key molecular targets of age-related stiffening within arteries and other dynamic elastic tissues and (ii) the potential role played by the preferential oxidation of TGF-β binding elastic fibre-associated components in driving this aberrant tissue remodelling. © 2012 Association for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-21
    Number of pages6
    JournalArtery Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


    • Arteriosclerosis
    • Atomic force microscopy
    • Elasticity
    • Nanoindentation
    • Oxidative damage


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