Middle-aged and old left ventricles (LVs) are structurally and functionally very similar. Compared to a young LV, both show increased wall thickness and increased cavity size, with preserved cardiac function. However, when a stressor such as myocardial infarction occurs, striking differences are revealed between young and old LVs and there is a marked reduction in survival rates for the old group. The objective of this study was to investigate the proteomic basis of age-related changes in the LV of male mice in order to identify proteins that are differentially expressed between middle-aged and old groups and to gain mechanistic insight into effects of aging on the unstressed heart. Young (3 months old; n = 6), middle-aged (MA; 15 months old; n = 6), and old (23 months old; n = 5) LVs were examined by echocardiography, homogenized, and separated into soluble and insoluble protein fractions using differential extraction. We found that the LV mass-to-tibia ratio increased from 6.4 ± 0.2 mg/mm in young to 11.0 ± 0.6 and 10.1 ± 0.7 mg/mm in MA and old, respectively (both p < 0.05 vs young), which was caused by increases in both LV wall thickness and volume. Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, we detected age-related alterations in the levels of 73 proteins (all p < 0.05). Among these proteins were mortalin, peroxiredoxin 3, epoxide hydrolase, and the superoxide dismutases SOD-1 (Cu/ZnSOD) and SOD-2 (MnSOD), which have been previously associated with aging and/or cardiovascular disease. Together, these results reveal proteomic changes that occur in the LV with age. The proteins identified here may be useful markers of cardiac aging and may help in deducing mechanisms to explain the inability of the old heart to withstand challenge.
- Left ventricle
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