Arterial stiffness and extracellular matrix
Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, Centre for Applied Medical Research and University Clinic, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
The growing prevalence and associated risk of arterial stiffness provide a major challenge to better understand the underlying causes and the resultant physiological impact of this condition. Structural components within the arterial wall, mainly collagen and elastin, are considered to be major determinants of arterial stiffness.
Thus, quantitative and qualitative alterations of collagen and elastin fibers are involved in arterial stiffening that is associated with the aging process and disease states such as hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and chronic renal failure.
Elucidation of mechanisms leading to the above alterations will aid in more specifically targeted therapeutic interventions because currently available cardiovascular medications fall short at reducing the stiffness of the large arteries. Reduction of arterial stiffness will likely have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality of older adults, as well as subjects suffering from cardiovascular and renal diseases.
CITATION Adv Cardiol. 2007;44:76-95