Nrf2 dysfunction and impaired cellular resilience to oxidative stressors in the aged vasculature: from increased cellular senescence to the pathogenesis of age-related vascular diseases

Zoltan Ungvari, Stefano Tarantini, Ádám Nyúl-Tóth, Tamas Kiss, Andriy Yabluchanskiy, Tamas Csipo, Priya Balasubramanian, Agnes Lipecz, Zoltan Benyo, Anna Csiszar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aging is associated with increased oxidative stress in vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, which contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases affecting the circulatory system in older adults. There is growing evidence that in addition to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), aging critically impairs pathways determining cellular resilience to oxidative stressors. In young organisms, the evolutionarily conserved nuclear factor-erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant response pathway maintains cellular reduction-oxidation homeostasis and promotes a youthful cellular phenotype by regulating the transcription of an array of cytoprotective (antioxidant, pro-survival, anti-inflammatory and macromolecular damage repair) genes. A critical mechanism by which increased ROS production and Nrf2 dysfunction promote vascular aging and exacerbate pathogenesis of age-related vascular diseases is induction of cellular senescence, an evolutionarily conserved cellular stress response mechanism. Senescent cells cease dividing and undergo distinctive phenotypic alterations, contributing to impairment of angiogenic processes, chronic sterile inflammation, remodeling of the extracellular matrix, and barrier dysfunction. Herein, we review mechanisms contributing to dysregulation of Nrf2-driven cytoprotective responses in the aged vasculature and discuss the multifaceted role of Nrf2 dysfunction in the genesis of age-related pathologies affecting the circulatory system, including its role in induction of cellular senescence. Therapeutic strategies that restore Nrf2 signaling and improve vascular resilience in aging are explored to reduce cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeroScience
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Nrf2 deficiency
  • Nrf2 dysfunction
  • Oxidative stress
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Senescence
  • Stress resistance
  • Vascular aging
  • Vascular cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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